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October 2021
Anat Ekka Zohar PhD, Jennifer Kertes MPH, Erica Cohen-Iunger MPH MD, Ilya Novikov PhD, Naama Shamir Stein MA, Sharon Hermoni Alon MD, and Miri Mizrahi Reuveni MD

Background: Israel has experienced three waves of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection since late February 2020, with lockdown and other measures employed to contain infection rates. In cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Health, serological testing was conducted by all four health maintenance organizations (HMO) in order to estimate national infection rates and the proportion of previously undetected disease.

Objectives: To estimate the proportion of the population that was seropositive, identify factors associated with seropositive outcome, and approximate the proportion of residents that were asymptomatic.

Methods: Seroconversion rates (IgG) were measured in a representative sample of over 17,000 members of Maccabi Healthcare Services. Direct standardization was used to estimate the seropositive rates for COVID-19 infection for members of the HMO. Rates were adjusted for sensitivity and specificity of the testing products used. In addition to blood sampling, respondents were asked to complete a digital survey regarding potential exposures and symptoms experienced.

Results: It was estimated that 1.9% of the adult HMO population was seropositive 4 months after the first infected person was identified in the country. Seroconversion was associated with travel abroad and exposure to infected individuals. Loss of smell and taste, fever, cough, and fatigue are associated with infection. Of those found to be seropositive for COVID-19, 160 (59%) had a prior negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or no PCR test at all.

Conclusions: Adult seropositive rates of infection were low relative to other countries. The findings suggest that early initiatives to limit infection entry and spread were effective

September 2009
. Giveon, J. Yaphe, I. Hekselman, S. Mahamid and D. Hermoni

Background: The internet has transformed the patient-physician relationship by empowering patients with information. Because physicians are no longer the primary gatekeepers of medical information, shared decision making is now emerging as the hallmark of the patient-physician relationship.

Objectives: To assess the reactions of primary care physicians to encounters in which patients present information obtained from the internet (e-patients) and to examine the influence of the physicians' personal and demographic characteristics on their degree of satisfaction with e-patients.

Methods: A questionnaire was developed to assess physician attitudes to e-patients, their knowledge and utilization of the internet, and their personal and professional characteristics. Family physicians in central Israel were interviewed by telephone and in person at a continuing medical education course.

Results: Of the 100 physicians contacted by phone, 93 responded to the telephone interviews and 50 physicians responded to the questionnaire in person. There was an 85% response rate. The mean age of respondents was 49 years. Most physicians were born in Israel, with a mean seniority of 22 years. Most had graduated in Eastern Europe, were not board certified and were employees of one of the four health management organizations in Israel. Most physicians responded positively when data from the internet were presented to them by patients (81%). A number of respondents expressed discomfort in such situations (23%). No association was found between physician satisfaction in relationships with patients and comfort with data from the internet presented by patients.

Conclusions: Physicians in this sample responded favorably to patients bringing information obtained online to the consultation. Though it may be difficult to generalize findings from a convenience sample, Israeli family physicians appear to have accepted internet use by patients.

 
 

May 2009
H. Mazeh, A. Greenstein, K. Swedish, S. Arora, H. Hermon, I. Ariel, C. Divino, H.R Freund and .K. Weber

Background: Fine needle aspiration is the main diagnostic tool used to assess thyroid nodules.

Objectives: To correlate FNA[1] cytology results with surgical pathological findings in two teaching medical centers across the Atlantic.

Methods: We retrospectively identified 484 patients at Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, by means of both preoperative FNA cytology and a final histopathological report. Results compared FNA diagnosis, histological findings and frozen section results (Mt. Sinai only).

Results: The sensitivity value of FNA at Hadassah was 83.0% compared with 79.1% at Mt. Sinai (NS). Specificity values were 86.6 vs. 98.5% (P < 0.05), negative predictive value 78.7 vs. 77.6% (NS) and positive predictive value 89.7 vs. 98.6% (P < 0.05), respectively. "Follicular lesion" was diagnosed on FNA in 33.1% of the patients at Hadassah and in 21.5% at Mt Sinai (P < 0.005) with a malignancy rate of 42.5 vs. 23.1% (P < 0.05), respectively. Frozen section was used in 190 patients at Mt. Sinai (78.5%) with sensitivity and specificity values of 72.3% and 100%. Frozen section results altered the planned operative course in only 6 patients (2.5%). Follicular carcinoma was diagnosed in 12 patients at Hadassah vs. 2 patients at Mt. Sinai (P p <0.05).

Conclusion: The sensitivity of FNA at the two institutions was comparable. While malignancy on frozen section is highly specific, it should be used selectively for suspicious FNA results. Follicular lesions and the rate of malignancy in such lesions were more common at Hadassah, favoring a more aggressive surgical approach.






[1] FNA = fine needle aspiration


October 2006
S. Avital, H. Hermon, R. Greenberg, E. Karin and Y. Skornick
 Background: Recent data confirming the oncologic safety of laparoscopic colectomy for cancer as well as its potential benefits will likely motivate more surgeons to perform laparoscopic colorectal surgery.

Objectives: To assess factors related to the learning curve of laparoscopic colorectal surgery, such as the number of operations performed, the type of procedures, major complications, and oncologic resections.

Methods: We evaluated the data of our first 100 elective laparoscopic colorectal operations performed during a 2 year period and compared the first 50 cases with the following 50.

Results: The mean age of the study population was 66 years and 49% were males. Indications included cancer, polyps, diverticular disease, Crohn’s disease, and others, in 50%, 23%, 13%, 7% and 7% respectively. Mean operative time was 170 minutes. One patient died (massive pulmonary embolism). Significant surgical complications occurred in 10 patients (10%). Hospital stay averaged 8 days. Comparison of the first 50 procedures with the next 50 revealed a significant decrease in major surgical complications (20% vs. 0%). Mean operative time decreased from 180 to 160 minutes and hospital stay from 8.6 to 7.2 days. There was no difference in conversion rate and mean number of harvested nodes in both groups. Residents performed 8% of the operations in the first 50 cases compared with 20% in the second 50 cases. Right colectomies had shorter operative times and fewer conversions.

Conclusions: There was a significant decrease in major complications after the first 50 laparoscopic colorectal procedures. Adequate oncologic resections may be achieved early in the learning curve. Right colectomies are less difficult to perform and are recommended as initial procedures.

September 2006
N. Roguin Maor, S. Sayag, R. Dahan and D. Hermoni

Background: Israeli youth lead 27 western countries in dieting. The prevalence of eating disorders has been rising in the last 30 years, causing social problems and medical complications.

Objectives: To examine the prevalence of eating disorders among high school students in a region in northern Israel (Misgav) and to examine the relationship between the parents' employment status and the subject’s eating disorder.

Methods: A structured questionnaire was administered to collect demographic data. The short version of the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) was used to evaluate the subject’s attitudes toward and preoccupation with food, dieting, eating, physical appearance, and personal control over eating.

Results: Of 360 students approached, 283 (78%) completed the self-report EAT-26. One of every 5 females and one in every 20 males had an abnormal eating attitude. The rate of pathologic EAT-26[1] results, 20.8%, falls within the high range of similar community-based samples of female adolescents. There were no differences in EAT-26 score between students with an employed or unemployed mother; however, there was a trend for higher EAT-26 scores among those whose father was unemployed (21.4% vs. 12.7%, c2  = 0.14).

Conclusions: The findings support our hypothesis of a relatively high rate of abnormal eating attitudes (as reflected by high EAT-26 score) in this population. Another possible risk factor is having an unemployed father, which warrants further research and attention. Our next step is to introduce an intervention program in the school and to study its effect.






[1] EAT-26 = Eating Attitudes Test


February 2003
D. Glick, H. Soreq

Behavioral genetics is the identification of behavioral traits that are genetically determined, the identification of the genes that are involved, and the discovery of modes of intervention to alter the expected course of the disease. Unlike the classical Mendelian traits, many specific aspects of behavior are, in part, determined by several genes. The corresponding abnormalities of behavior or deficiencies are therefore polygenic. New genetic techniques are leading to the discovery of these genes, and the techniques and knowledge developed in the Human Genome Project make it possible to screen the genome of any individual for the presence of known polymorphisms. This raises great hopes for diagnosis and the individualization of therapy. However, the genetic prediction of unacceptable behavior can further lead to social and occupational discrimination and enforced therapy. This raises serious concerns about how this information will be collected and who will have access to it.

December 2001
Rachel Dahan, MD, Shmuel Reis, MD, Doron Hermoni, MD and Jeffrey Borkan, MD
Rachel Dahan, MD, Shmuel Reis, MD, Doron Hermoni, MD and Jeffrey Borkan, MD
Shmuel Reis MD, Margalit Goldfracht MD, Ada Tamir DSc, Riki Van Raalte MA, Tomas Spenser FRCGP and Doron Hermoni MD

Background: Which medical specialties do Israeli medical graduates choose? Answers to this question can serve as an essential means of evaluating both Israeli medical education and the healthcare system.

Objectives: To determine the distribution of medical specialty choice, its change over time and the posible influence of the medical school on the choice; to study the graduates’ gender, gender variability in specialty choice of family medicine as a career among the graduates as a group, by medical school, gender, and time trends.

Method: The study population comprised all graduates of the four medical schools in Israel during 16 years: 1980-1995 inclusive. Data were obtained from the four medical schools, the Israel Medical Association’s Scientific Council, and the Ministry of Health. Data allowed for correct identification of two-third of the graduates.

Results: A total of 4,578 physicians graduated during this period. There was a significant growth trend in the proportion of women graduates from 22.6% in 1980 (lowest: 20.0% un 1981) to 35.3 in 1995 (highest: 41.5% in 1991). Overall, 3,063 physicians (66.8%) started residency and 1,714 (37.4%) became specialists. The four most popular residencies were internal medicine. Ten percent of Israeli graduates choose family medicine.

Conclusions: The overall class size in Israel was stable at a time considerable population change. Women’s place in Israeli medicine is undergoing significant change. Family medicine is one of the four most popular residencies. Amonitoring system for MSC in Israel is imperative.
 

Uzi Milman MD, Mordechai Alperin MD, Shmuel Reis MD, Riki Van-Ralte MA and Doron Hermoni MD BSc

Background: Most of the published documents proposing teaching objectives for undergraduate clerkships were prepared by expert bodies. Seldom have the clinical teachers, who are critical to the learning process and to the implementationof the  teaching objectives, been the actual proponents of its core content.

Objective: To develop a national-scale proposal of teaching, objectives for the family medicine clerckship in medical school, using a consensus method and the actual, community-based teachers as the expert body.

Method: The Delphi method was chosen for that purpose. In the first round all 189 family medicine teachers in Israeli medical schools were asked to propose five teaching objectives. In the second round the objectives, which were generatedin the first round, were characterized by key words and were send to the participants as a second round for ranking according to their importance.

Results: A total of 116 family medicine teachers (61.38%) responded in the first round and 91 of the 116 (78.5%) in the second round. They formulated 51 teaching objectives listed in order of importance, covering a wide array of themes and including knowledge, attitude and skills objectives. The most important objectives were common problems in primary care, recognition of the biopsychosocial model, and understanding the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. The structure of the list provides a uniqe insight into the relative importance of each objective in the context of the whole core content of the clerkship.

Conclusions: Constructing a proposal for teaching objectives is feasible using the Delphi method and the field instructors as the selecting body. The process and its results can provide faculty with relevant and important suggestions on the content and structure of the family medicine clerkship.
 

December 1999
Eduard Kaykov MD, Benyamine Abbou MD, Scott Friedstrom MD, Doron Hermoni MD and Nathan Roguin MD
 Background: Previous work has suggested an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and coronary artery disease. The infection was demonstrated by titers of antibodies - enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or immunofluorescence, and polymerase chain reaction - and by the findings of C. pneumoniae in the atherosclerotic plaque.

Objectives: To evaluate the association between chronic infection with C. pneumoniae, as measured by a high titer of IgG antibody, and CAD. Our study was designed to explore the relationship between seropositivity to C. pneumoniae and serious coronary events, and to assess whether or not there may be an additional association between established cardiovascular factors and infection with this organism.

Methods: The serum of 130 patients with proven CAD was tested for the presence of IgG antibodies to C. pneumoniae using an ELISA test. A titer ≤1:64 using the microinfluorescence method, the recognized "gold standard," correlates with a positive result when using the ELISA method. The mean age was 57 (40-65 years). The patients, 82% male and 18% female, had either myocardial infarction (n=109) or unstable angina (n=21) 6 months before the investigation (range 3-24 months). The serum for the control group was obtained from 98 blood donors from the same area matched for age 52 (40-58 years) and sex. The donors had no known cardiac history.

Results: In the CAD group 75% of patients were positive for C. pneumoniae compared to 33% in the control group (P=0.001). No increased correlation could be demonstrated between traditional risk factors and C. pneumoniae infection, except in those patients with diabetes mellitus. We found a lower prevalence of IgG antibody to C. pneumoniae in the diabetes subgroup than in other subgroups (P<0.006), but a higher prevalence than in the control group.

Conclusions: We demonstrated a more than twofold increase in seropositivity to C. pneumoniae among patients suffering serious coronary events, and this trend was independent of gender, age or ethnic group. These findings suggest that chronic C. pneumoniae infection may be a significant risk factor for the development of CAD, but this correlation should be investigated further.

_______________________________________

CAD= coronary artery disease

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