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עמוד בית
Thu, 13.06.24

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January 2003
November 2002
Alexander Gorshtein, MD, Yair Levy, MD and Yehuda Shoenfeld, MD
Gabriel S. Breuer, MD, David Raveh, MD, Bernard Rudensky, PhD, Raina Rosenberg, MD, Rose Ruchlemer, MD and Jonathan Halevy, MD
October 2002
Veronica Silva Vilela, MD, Nilson Ramirez de Jesus, MD and Roger Abramino Levy, MD, PhD
August 2002
Alla Reitman, MD, Ilana Friedrich, MD, Ami Ben-Amotz, PhD and Yishai Levy, MD

Background: Obesity is among the well-established risk factors for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the exact mechanisms are not well understood. Low concentrations of vitamins (fat soluble antioxidants and B vitamins) are linked to accelerated atherosclerosis through increased oxidative stress and homocysteine.

Objective: To compare plasma antioxidant vitamins (carotenoids and vitamin E), B vitamins (folic acid and B12) and homocysteine – all linked to increased cardiovascular morbidity – between patients with severe obesity and lean control subjects.

Methods: We investigated plasma carotenoids, vitamin E, folic acid, B12, and homocysteine in 25 obese patients and their age-matched controls (body mass index 38 ± 3 vs. 21 ± 2 kg/m2), respectively), related to BMI[1] and plasma insulin.

Results: Patients with obesity had normal B vitamins and a non-significant decrease in plasma homocysteine as compared to controls (9.4 ± 2.6 vs. 11.4 ± 4.8 mmol/L, P = 0.07). There was a significant decrease in both plasma carotenoids and vitamin E (0.69 ± 0.32 vs. 1.25 ± 0.72 and 24 ± 10 vs. 33 ± 14 mg/ml, respectively; P < 0.01). Both vitamins were inversely related to BMI and plasma insulin, which was significantly increased in patients with obesity (22 ± 21 vs. 6 ± 2 mU/ml, P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Obese patients with BMI above 35 kg/m2 show low plasma antioxidants (carotenoids and vitamin E). This may result in increased oxidative stress and consequently enhanced atherosclerosis in these patients.






[1] BMI = body mass index


July 2002
Raymond Kaempfer, PhD, Gila Arad, PhD, Revital Levy, BA and Dalia Hillman, BA

Background: Superantigens produced by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes are among the most lethal of toxins. Toxins in this family trigger an excessive cellular immune response leading to toxic shock.

Objectives: To design an antagonist that is effective in vivo against a broad spectrum of superantigen toxins.

Methods: Short peptide antagonists were selected for their ability to inhibit superantigen-induced expression of human genes for cytokines that mediate shock. The ability of these peptides to protect mice against lethal toxin challenge was examined.

Results: Antagonist peptide protected mice against lethal challenge with staphylococcal enterotoxin B and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1, superantigens that share only 6% overall amino acid homology. Moreover, it rescued mice undergoing toxic shock. Antagonist peptides show homology to a β-strand/hinge/a-helix domain that is structurally conserved among superantigens, yet remote from known binding sites for the major histocompatibility class II molecule and T cell receptor that function in toxic T cell hyperactivation.

Conclusions: The lethal effect of superantigens can be blocked with a peptide antagonist that inhibits their action at the top of the toxicity cascade, before activation of T cells occurs. Superantigenic toxin antagonists may serve not only as countermeasures to biologic warfare but may be useful in the treatment of staphylococcal and streptococcal toxic shock, as well as in some cases of septic shock.
 

May 2002
Daphna Weinstein, MD, Mehrdad Herbert, MD, Noa Bendet, MD, Judith Sandbank, MD and Ariel Halevy, MD

Background: Carcinoma of the gallbladder is diagnosed in 0.3–1.5% of all cholecystectomy specimens.

Objectives: To establish the overall rate of gallbladder carcinoma and unexpected gallbladder carcinoma based on our experience.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated all consecutive cholecystectomies performed in our ward during a 6 year period in order to determine the incidence of gallbladder carcinoma and to identify common characteristics of this particular group of patients.

Results: Of the 1,697 cholecystectomies performed in our ward during the 6 years, gallbladder carcinoma was diagnosed in six patients (0.35%), but was not suspected prior to surgery in any of them. In accordance with the literature, the occurrence in women (5/6) was higher than in men (1/6). The mean age was 70 years (range 55–90). The most common symptom was abdominal pain; the majority (5/6) had cholelithiasis, and the pathologic report confirmed the diagnosis of adenocarcinoma in all six patients.

Conclusions: The overall incidence of unsuspected gallbladder carcinoma in our series was 0.35%. We could not find any common characteristics for this particular group of patients when compared to patients with non-malignant pathology.

Tatiana Fadeeva, MD, Yair Levy, MD, Gisele Zandman-Goddard, MD, Segal Tal, MD and Marina Perelman, MD
April 2002
December 2001
Mirta Grynbaum MD, Aya Biderman MD, Amalia Levy PhD MPH and Selma Petasne-Weinstock MD

Background: Domestic violence is a prevalent problem with serious consequences, including a 30% risk of death. The lifetime prevalence ranges from 21 to 34%, with 8–14% of them reporting abuse in the previous year. The incidence seen in primary care practice is about 8%. Despite this high rate, domestic violence is under-diagnosed in primary care.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of domestic violence among women visiting a primary care center, to characterize them and to evaluate a screening tool.

Methods: A brief anonymous questionnaire (in Hebrew and Russian) for self-completion was used as a screening tool. During October 1998 we distributed the questionnaires in a primary care clinic in Beer Sheva to all women aged 18–60 years whose health permitted their participation. A woman was considered at high risk for domestic violence when she gave a positive answer to at least one of the three questions related to violence. The risk factors for domestic violence were calculated by odds ratio with 95% confidence intervals.

Results: The response rate was 95.7%. We found 41 women (30.8%) at high risk for violence. Women preferred talking about this issue with their family physician. Women at highest risk were older than 40 years, had emigrated from the former Soviet Union during the last 10 years, were living alone, and were unemployed. None of the women visited the Domestic Violence Center during the study period and 2 months thereafter. Only three women tore off the address and phone number of the center that were attached to the questionnaire.

Conclusions: The anonymous questionnaire was well accepted and had a high compliance rate. Its disadvantages are that respondents must be literate and that it permits the woman to continue with her “secret-keeping” behavior. A high prevalence of domestic violence among women visiting a primary care clinic should convince family physicians to be more active in diagnosing the problem accurately among their patients, providing treatment and preventing further deterioration and possible danger. Further effort should be directed at improving the clinic staff's ability to detect domestic violence among patients, and in developing management programs in the health system to help combat domestic violence.

November 2001
Sima Halevy, MD, Hani Giryes, MD, Michael Friger, PhD, Nili Grossman, PhD, Zeev Karpas, PhD, Batia Sarov, PhD and Shaul Sukenik, MD

Background: A beneficial effect was observed in patients with psoriasis vulgaris following balneotherapy with Dead Sea bath salt.

Objectives: To evaluate the possible role of trace elements in the effectiveness of balneotherapy. 

Methods: Serum levels of 11 trace elements were analyzed in 23 patients with psoriasis vulgaris who participated in a double-blind controlled study of balneotherapy, with either Dead Sea bath salt (12 patients) or common salt (11 patients). Thirteen healthy volunteers served as controls.

Results: The mean pre-treatment serum levels of boron, cadmium, lithium and rubidium were significantly lower in patients compared to controls, whereas the mean pre-treatment serum level of manganese was significantly higher in patients compared to controls. Balneotherapy with Dead Sea bath salt resulted in a significant decrease (P = 0.0051) in the mean serum level of manganese from 0.10 ± 0.05 mmol/L to 0.05 ± 0.02 mmol/L. The mean reduction in the serum level of manganese differed significantly (P = 0.002) between responders (% Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score reduction ³ 25) and non-responders (% PASI score reduction < 25). Following balneotherapy with Dead Sea bath salt the mean serum level of lithium decreased in responders by 0.01 ± 0.02 mmol/L whereas its level in non-responders increased by 0.03 ± 0.03 mmol/L. (P = 0.015).
Conclusions: Manganese and lithium may play a role in the effectiveness of balneotherapy with Dead Sea bath salt for psoriasis.

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