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עמוד בית
Fri, 31.05.24

Search results

May 2024
Jen Barak Levitt MD, Shira Barmatz MD, Shira Fisch-Gilad MD, Yossef H. Taieb MD, Adam Dalal MD, Khashayar Afshari MD, Nazgol Haddadi MD, Dana Tzur Bitan MD, Arnon Dov Cohen MD PhD, Daniel Mimouni MD, Emmilia Hodak MD, Shany Sherman MD

Background: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease involving apocrine gland-bearing regions. There is an under-representation of non-Caucasians in epidemiologic studies of HS. The characteristics of HS in Israeli Arabs have not yet been studied.

Objectives: To investigate the demographic and clinical profile of HS in the Israeli Arab population.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted in two cohorts of patients with HS in Israel. The patients were derived from the database of a large health management organization (n=4191, 639 Arabs; population-based) and a major tertiary medical center (n=372, 49 Arabs). Demographic and clinical data were compared between ethnic groups.

Results: The prevalence of HS in Israeli Arabs was found to be 0.5%, fivefold higher than in Jews. Arab patients were younger (35.3 vs. 40.5 years, P < 0.001) and mostly male (52% vs. 35.7%, p < 0.001), with lower rates of co-morbidities, including smoking (40.8% vs. 55.7%, p < 0.001), hyperlipidemia, and depression as well as a higher rate of dissecting cellulitis (10.2% vs. 1.9%, p = 0.008). HS was more severe in Arabs, but of shorter duration, with mainly axillary involvement (79.6% vs. 57.9%, p = 0.004). Treatment with hormones was more common in Jews, and with biologic agents in Arabs.

Conclusions: The findings suggest a different phenotype of HS in Arabs, warranting further study.

July 2023
Sophia Eilat-Tsanani MD, Nebal Abu Ahmad MD, Moamena Agbaria MD

Background: In Israel, breast cancer prevalence is lower among Arab than Jewish women, but incidence is increasing among Arab women at a younger age.

Objectives: To explore differences between Arab and Jewish women with breast cancer with respect to age at diagnosis, associated risk factors, and use of hormonal medications.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective database study comparing Arab and Jewish women with breast cancer focusing on age at diagnosis, smoking history, obesity, and previous hormonal medication usage, including oral combined contraceptive pills (OCCP), progestogens, hormonal medications for treatment of infertility, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Results: The study included 2494 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer during 2004–2015. Age at diagnosis was lower among Arab women (50.7 ± 13.1 years vs. 55.4 ± 12.6 years, P < 0.0001). The rate of smoking was higher among Jewish women (16.0% vs. 4.3%, P < 0.0001). The rate of obesity was higher in Arab women older than 50 years at diagnosis (59.0% vs. 42.4%, P < 0.0001). Arab women demonstrated a lower overall chance of previous use of all types of hormonal medications (odds ratio [OR] 0.6, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.6–0.8) compared to Jewish women. Arab women were more likely to have used progestogens (OR 1.7, 95%CI 1.4–2.2) and medications for treatment of infertility (OR 2.3, 95%CI 1.5–3.4) and less likely OCCP (OR 0.4, 95%CI 0.3–0.6) and HRT (OR 0.4, 95%CI 0.3–0.5).

Conclusions: Previous use of hormonal medications may contribute to incidence of breast cancer in Arab women.

September 2020
Eliyakim Hershkop MD, Mordechai A Levin MD, Jonathan Nuriel MA, Sheldon I. Hershkop MD and Eyal Fruchter MD

Background: Dependence on technology and electronic media devices (EMDs) is a significant phenomenon of modern life with many people experiencing adverse symptoms during abstention. Orthodox Jews abstain from using all forms of EMDs for 25 consecutive hours every week on the Sabbath but do not appear to experience significant adverse reactions during this abstention.

Objectives: To better examine whether Sabbath observant Jews experience fewer and less severe adverse symptoms while abstaining from EMDs on the Sabbath compared to weekdays.

Methods: Ten Sabbath observant Jews abstained from using all forms of EMDs for 25 hours on a Sabbath and again on a weekday. At the end of each 25-hour period participants completed a 12-item Likert-type scale self-assessment of 1–5, once as a report of their condition at 10:00 and again after 25 hours of abstaining. The authors compared the mean results of Sabbath and weekday using Wilcoxon signed ranks test. P ≤ 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Overall, discomfort on Sabbath was less than on weekdays. A statistically significant decrease on the Sabbath was found at both the 10:00 reporting time and after 25 hours in anxiety, restlessness, thoughts and plans of using devices, and overall difficulty to abstain. Significance was found for feelings of not knowing what to do with time (10:00) and moodiness and irritability, being drawn to devices, and cravings achieved significance (after 25 hours).

Conclusions: Sabbath observant Jews reported statistically significant less adverse reactions while abstaining from EMDs on the Sabbath compared to on a weekday.

March 2019
Mariano Martini PhD, Naim Mahroum MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD and Alessandra Parodi PhD
January 2017
Gabriel Munter MD, Yehuda Brivik MD, Yossi Freier-Dror MA and Shoshana Zevin MD

Background: Cigarette smoking is a widespread problem around the world. In Israel, the prevalence of smoking is 23%. Smokers who are Orthodox abstain from smoking during the Sabbath, i.e., from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, due to a religious prohibition. The prevalence of smoking among Orthodox men is 13%. However, there are no data on patterns of smoking or on the addiction profiles in this population.

Objectives: To explore the smoking patterns, motivation for smoking and nicotine addiction among Orthodox Jewish men, compared to non-Orthodox men, as well as the differences in the urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms on Saturday versus weekdays in the Orthodox group. 

Methods: The participants completed the Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence, questionnaires on reasons for smoking and smoking patterns, as well as two brief questionnaires on the urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms after overnight abstinence on a weekday and after the end of the Sabbath. 

Results: Both groups were strongly addicted to nicotine and there were no differences in the reasons for smoking, withdrawal symptoms and nicotine craving after an overnight abstinence on weekdays. However, religious smokers had low levels of craving for nicotine and few withdrawal symptoms during Sabbath abstinence when compared to weekdays. 

Conclusions: Although we found no difference in the baseline characteristics with regard to nicotine addiction, smoking motivation, urge to smoke and withdrawal symptoms between religious and non-religious groups, the former are able to abstain from smoking during 25 hours of the Sabbath every week with significantly fewer withdrawal symptoms compared to week days.


August 2015
Rafael S. Carel MD DrPH, Inna Brodsky MPH and Giora Pillar MD MPH

Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common health problem with an estimated prevalence of 4% among men, many of whom are undiagnosed and untreated. 

Objectives: To compare demographic characteristics, health profiles, risk factors, and disease severity in Arab and Jewish men with OSA syndrome.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study we retrospectively analyzed clinical data from the medical files of men ≥ 22 years old who were referred to the Rambam Medical Center sleep clinic during the period 2001–2009 with a suspected diagnosis of OSA. OSA severity was measured using the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). Categorical variables were compared using the chi-square test. Relations between OSA severity and a set of independent risk factors were assessed by linear regression analysis.

Results: A total of 207 men were included (39 Arabs, 19%; 168 Jews, 81%). Arab participants were younger than their Jewish counterparts (45.5 ± 8.9 years vs. 49.8 ± 11.8, P = 0.04) and their body mass index (BMI) was higher (33.1 ± 5.1 vs. 30.0 ± 4.4, P = 0.001). OSA severity (AHI score) was higher among Arab men, with low, medium and high severity scores seen in 10%, 33% and 56% of Arab men vs 35%, 29% and 37% of Jewish men, respectively [T(198)=2.39, P = 0.02]. Mean blood oxygen saturation was comparable.

Conclusions: Arab men presenting for evaluation of sleep apnea harbored more severe OSA symptoms, were younger, and had higher BMI compared to Jewish men. Since OSA syndrome evolves for several years until it becomes severe, these findings suggest that Arab men seek medical assistance later than Jewish men with OSA.


June 2015
Orna Baron-Epel PHD, Waleed Shalata PHD and Melbourne F. Hovell PHD


Background: Waterpipe tobacco smoking (WTS) is common in some populations and may add increased risk for tobaccorelated diseases.

Objectives: To assess the rates of WTS and risk practices associated with WTS in three distinct populations in Israel: long-term Jewish residents (LTJR), immigrants from the former Soviet Union (fSU), and Arabs.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 899 randomly selected participants, age 30–65 years, using face-toface interviews with subjects from the three population groups in Israel. Respondents reported WTS, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and socioeconomic characteristics.

Results: Among men, WTS at least once a week was reported by 4.8% of LTJR, 3.2% of fSU immigrants and 20.3% of Arabs. Lower rates were reported among women of all groups. The younger, less educated men and the younger unmarried women had higher odds of WTS. LTJR who smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol had higher odds of WTS [odds ratio (OR) 32.6, confidence interval (CI) 9.36–113.6; OR = 3.57, CI =1.48–8.63, respectively], compared to non-smokers and non-drinkers. fSU immigrants who smoked cigarettes had higher odds of WTS (OR = 3.40, CI = 0.99–11.7) compared to non-smokers. Among Arabs, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption were not associated with WTS.

Conclusions: Arabs are more likely than other Israeli populations to engage in WTS. This behavior may add to increased inequalities in rates of tobacco-induced diseases between Arabs and Jews in Israel. Including WTS in the policies for smoke-free public places is called for.

December 2014
Yehoshua Shapira DMD, Itay Blum DMD, Ziona Haklai MSc, Nir Shpack DMD and Yona Amitai MD MPH

Background: Orofacial clefts are the most common craniofacial congenital malformations, with significant anatomic, ethnical, racial and gender differences.

Objectives: To investigate the prevalence, distribution and characteristic features of various types of non-syndromic clefts among Israeli Jews and Arabs.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective multi-center survey in 13 major hospitals in Israel for the period 1993–2005. To obtain the true prevalence and detailed clinical characteristics, data on liveborn infants with non-syndromic clefts were obtained from the Ministry of Health's National Birth Defect Registry and completed by chart reviews in the 13 surveyed hospitals.

Results: Of 976,578 liveborn infants, 684 presented unilateral or bilateral clefts, with a prevalence of 7.00/10,000 live births; 479 were Jews and 205 were Arabs. The prevalence was higher among Arabs compared to Jews (11.12 and 6.22 per 10,000 live births in Arabs and Jews, respectively, P < 0.00001). Males had higher cleft rates than females (7.69/10,000 and 6.17/10,000 live births, respectively, P = 0.05). Males had more cleft lips with or without cleft palate, while females had more isolated cleft palates

(P < 0.001). There was left-side predominance. Newborns of younger mothers (age < 20 years) and of older mothers (age ≥ 45 years) had higher cleft rates than those with mothers in the 20–44 year bracket (P < 0.009). Children born at or above the 5th birth order had a higher cleft rate (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The prevalence of non-syndromic clefts was 7.00/10,000 live births. The markedly higher rate in Arabs is related to the high rate of consanguinity. Both very young and old maternal age represents a higher risk of clefts in their offspring. 

November 2014
Silvia Bronstein MSc, Mazal Karpati PhD and Leah Peleg PhD

Background: Gaucher disease is the most prevalent inherited disorder among Ashkenazi Jews (carrier frequency of about 6%) and six mutations account for about 96% of their mutant alleles. Two mutations, N370S and R496H, have been reported only in mildly affected or asymptomatic patients, Due to the rarity of R496H, it was recommended that it be excluded from screening programs. 

Objectives: To verify the frequency and trace the origin of Gaucher mutations in screened individuals whose Ashkenazi ethnicity was confirmed by the birthplace of their grandparents.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of the screened results for the period 2006–2011. Mutations were identified by restriction analysis, Tag-ItTM detection system, Pronto® diagnostic kit and Nanogen technology (NanoChip® 400).

Results: The heterozygote frequency of eight mutations was estimated in a cohort of 16,910 alleles. Two mutations, N370S and R496H, were the most frequent in our population. However, while the occurrence of N370S carriers was similar to other reports (1:19.4), that of R496H carriers was considerably elevated (1:207). Examination of the screened individuals' ethnicity showed a significant difference in the distribution pattern of the country of origin between the carriers of these two mutations.

Conclusions: The origin pattern differences between the two groups of heterozygotes might reflect a separate geographic region of introduction for various mutations. As a result, secondary subgroups could be formed within the Ashkenazi population. This might clarify the dissimilarities in the occurrence of R496H mutation reported by various centers. 

December 2013
Sergiu C. Blumen, Anat Kesler, Ron Dabby, Stavit Shalev, Chaiat Morad, Yechoshua Almog, Joseph Zoldan, Felix Benninger, Vivian E. Drory, Michael Gurevich, Menachem Sadeh, Bernard Brais and Itzhak Braverman
 Background: Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) produced by the (GCG)13 expansion mutation in the PABPN1 gene is frequent among Uzbek Jews in Israel.

Objectives: To describe the phenotypic and genotypic features in five Bulgarian Jewish patients, from different families, with autosomal dominant OPMD.

Methods: We performed clinical follow-up, electrodiagnostic tests and mutation detection. Blood samples were obtained after informed consent and DNA was extracted; measurement of GCG repeats in both PABPN1 alleles and sequencing of OPMD mutations were performed according to standard techniques.

Results: We identified five patients (four females), aged 58 to 71 years, with bilateral ptosis, dysphagia, dysphonia (n=3) and myopathic motor units by electromyography. In all patients we noticed proximal weakness of the upper limbs with winging scapulae in three of them. All cases shared the (GCG)13-(GCG)10 PABPN1 genotype.

Conclusions: OPMD among Bulgarian Jews is produced by a (GCG)13 expansion, identical to the mutation in Uzbek Jews and French Canadians. In addition to the classical neurological and neuro-ophthalmological features, early shoulder girdle weakness is common in Bulgarian Jewish patients; this is an unusual feature during the early stages of OPMD produced by the same mutation in other populations. We suggest that besides the disease-producing GCG expansion, additional ethnicity-related genetic factors may influence the OPMD phenotype. OPMD is a rare disease, and the identification of five affected families in the rather small Bulgarian Jewish community in Israel probably represents a new cluster; future haplotype studies may elucidate whether a founder effect occurred. 

October 2012
J. Levin

Background: Despite decades of research on religious determinants of health, this subject has not been systematically investigated within Jewish populations, in Israel or the diaspora. The present paper is part of a series of studies using large-scale population data sources to map the impact of religiousness on the physical and mental health of Jews.

Objectives: To identify religious predictors of physical health in a national probability sample of older Israeli Jews.

Methods: The data derive from the Israeli sample of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), a cross-national survey program involving nearly a dozen nations. The Israeli sample comprises 1287 Jewish respondents aged 50 or over. Outcome measures include single-item assessments of self-rated health, long-term health problems and activity limitation, as well as validated measures of diagnosed chronic diseases, physical symptoms, and activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental ADL (IADL).

Results: Recent synagogue attendance is a significant predictor of better health for six of the seven health measures, even after adjusting for age and several other covariates and mediators, including measures of health-related behavior and social support. Prayer, by contrast, is inversely associated with health according to five measures, perhaps reflecting its use as a coping mechanism for individuals with health problems.

Conclusions: This study presents modest evidence of a salutary effect of Jewish religiousness on this population of older adults. Religiousness, in the form of synagogue participation, was seen to serve a protective function, and prayer a coping function.

June 2012
E. Silberstein, T. Silberstein, E. Elhanan, E. Bar-Droma, A. Bogdanov-Berezovsky and L. Rosenberg

Background: Clefts of the lip and palate are the most common significant congenital birth anomaly of orofacial region. The condition may vary from a minor easily correctable cleft to a significant functional and cosmetic incapacitation. This is the first epidemiological study of orofacial clefts in the Negev region in Israel.

Objectives: To establish the frequency of cleft lip and palate in the population of the Negev, characterize the demographic features of affected individuals and find possible risk factors, compare the risk in two major population groups: Bedouin and Jewish in a well-defined geographic area, and determine whether there is a change over time in the birth of babies with facial clefts.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective survey of the Soroka Medical Center archives. The sample population comprised all 131,218 babies born at Soroka during the 11 year period 1 January 1996 to 31 December 2006. Statistical tests used Pearson's chi-square test, Student’s t-test and Spearman's correlation coefficient test according to the type of parameter tested.

Results: During the study period 140 babies were born with orofacial cleft. The overall incidence of cleft lip and palate was 1.067/1000. The incidence of facial clefts was 1.54/1000 among Bedouins and 0.48/1000 among Jews (P < 0.001). Cleft palate was significantly more frequent in female than male babies (P = 0.002). Over the study years we found a significant decrease in the incidence of facial clefts in the Bedouin population, with Spearman's correlation coefficient rank -0.9 (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: A significant decrease occurred in the incidence of facial clefts among Bedouin. This change may be attributed to prenatal care in the Bedouin Negev population as part of social and health-related behavior changes. The reduction in rates of congenital malformations, however, does not mean a reduction in the number of cases in a growing population. Also, with a modern western lifestyle, the expectancy and demand for reconstructive facial surgery and comprehensive care for these children are on the rise.

December 2010
O. Baron-Epel, L. Keinan-Boker, R. Weinstein and T. Shohat

Background: During the last few decades much effort has been invested into lowering smoking rates due to its heavy burden on the population's health and on costs for the health care services.

Objectives: To compare trends in smoking rates between adult Arab men and Jewish men and women during 2000–2008.

Methods: Six random telephone surveys were conducted by the Israel Center for Disease Control in 2000–2008 to investigate smoking rates. The number of respondents was 24,976 Jews men and women and 2564 Arab men. The percent of respondents reporting being current smokers was calculated for each population group (Jews and Arabs) by age, gender and education, and were studied in relation to time.

Results: Among Jewish men aged 21–64 smoking declined during 2000–2008 by about 3.5%. In the 21–44 age group this decline occurred only among respondents with an academic education. Among Jewish women this decline also occurred at ages 21–64, and in the 45–64 age group this decline was due only to a decline in smoking among those with an academic education. Among Arab men aged 21–64 an increase in smoking rates of about 6.5% was observed among both educated and less educated respondents.

Conclusions: Smoking prevalence is declining in Israel among Jews, but not among Arab men. The larger decrease in smoking rates among academics will, in the future, add to the inequalities in health between the lower and higher socioeconomic status groups and between Arabs and Jews. This calls for tailored interventions among the less educated Jews and all Arab men.

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