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עמוד בית
Fri, 08.12.23

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October 2023
Dror Dicker MD, Orly Tamir PhD MSc MHA, Gabriella Lieberman-Segal MD, Roy Eldor MD PhD, Moran Accos-Carmel RD MAN, Tatyana Kolobov PhD, Avraham Karasik MD

Background: In 2019, 1 mg subcutaneous semaglutide was registered for the treatment of diabetes in Israel. Recognition of its effect on weight has led to its use as a treatment for obesity.

Objectives: To explore physicians’ pre-therapy considerations, therapy practices, and attitudes regarding subcutaneous semaglutide for weight loss.

Methods: A 22-item questionnaire was disseminated to physicians who prescribed semaglutide 1-mg for weight loss using an authorized off-label path.

Results: In total, 127 physicians completed the questionnaire. As for pretreatment requirements, in the absence of diabetes, 30% requested a minimal body mass index of 30 kg/m2. Additional requirements were documented lifestyle-change effort (67%) and prior weight loss medication use (13%). Half of the physicians regarded calorie restriction, and 23% considered physical activity as necessary for weight loss while on therapy. As for dose, most physicians (78%) started with a 0.25-mg weekly injection, 57% doubled the dose monthly, and all others recommended doubling when side effects subsided. Regarding weight loss goal, 43% of the physicians set a personal goal with each patient while 26% limited the goal to 10% of initial weight. Fewer than 50% of physicians discussed treatment duration with their patients, and 52% of patients discontinued therapy in the first 3 months. The main reasons for discontinuation were price, lack of effect, and fear of long-term side effects.

Conclusions: The diverse approaches regarding off-label use of semaglutide for weight reduction highlight the necessity to guide physicians and standardize treatment regimen.

September 2023
Tamar Beck MD, Eyal Aviran MD, Shelly Cohn MD, David Goitein MD

Background: Long-term outcome data for bariatric surgery in patients with severe obesity (SO) (body mass index [BMI] ³ 50 kg/m2) are scarce.

Objectives: To compare perioperative morbidity and long-term outcomes between patients with SO and non-SO (NSO).

Methods: Patients with SO who underwent primary bariatric surgery with a follow-up ³ 5 years were age- and gender-matched with NSO patients in a retrospective, case-control study. Data included demographics, BMI, co-morbidities, early outcomes, current and nadir weight, co-morbidity status, and general satisfaction.

Results: Of 178 patients, 49.4% were male, mean age 44.5 ± 14 years. Mean preoperative BMI was 54.7 ± 3.6 and 41.8 ± 3.8 kg/m2 in SO and NSO, respectively (P = 0.02). Groups were similar in preoperative characteristics. Depression/anxiety was more prevalent in NSO (12.4% vs. 3.4%, P = 0.03). Obstructive sleep apnea was higher in SO (21.3% vs. 10.1%, P = 0.04). Sleeve gastrectomy was performed most often (80.9%), with a tendency toward bypass in SO (P = 0.05). Early complication rates were: 13.5% in SO and 12.4% in NSO (P = 0.82). Mean follow-up was 80.4 ± 13.3 months. BMI reduction was higher in SO (31.8 ± 5.9 vs. 26.8 ± 4.2 kg/m2, P < 0.001) and time to nadir weight was longer (22.1 ± 21.3 vs. 13.0 ± 12.0 months, P = 0.001). Co-morbidity improvement and satisfaction were similar.

Conclusions: Patients with SO benefited from bariatric surgery with reduced BMI and fewer co-morbidities. No added risk of operative complications was found compared to patients with NSO.

February 2023
Yarden Tenenbaum Weiss MD, Michael Friger PhD, Alon Haim MD, Eli Hershkovitz MD

Background: Pediatric patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) are commonly treated with daily multiple insulin injections or an insulin pump. They tend to have higher body mass index-standard deviation scores (BMI-SDS) than non-diabetic children.

Objectives: To identify patterns in the changes in BMI in the 3 years after T1DM diagnosis, and to discover factors that relate to excessive weight gain.

Methods: This retrospective study included clinical and laboratory data for 194 boys and girls aged 2–18 years at the time of diagnosis and at 1, 2, and 3 years after. Their BMI values were compared to non-diabetic children using BMI percentile and z-score (standard deviation) based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts.

Results: Both males and females had low mean BMI-SDS at diagnosis (-0.4499 ± 1.38743 male, 0.3050 ± 1.29887 female) that increased after 1 year (-0.0449 ± 1.14772 male, 0.1451 ± 0.98893 female). Lower glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) at 1 year correlated with higher BMI-SDS (r = -0.215, P = 0.011). No such correlation was found in the following 2 years. The daily dose of basal insulin correlated with higher BMI-SDS at 1 year (r = 0.183, P = 0.026) and 3 years (r = 0.297, P < 0.01). No association was found between the use of an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitoring and higher BMI-SDS.

Conclusions: BMI-SDS of children with T1DM was lower than average at the time of diagnosis and rose higher than average in the 3 years following. Higher BMI-SDS was not significantly associated with sex or ethnicity. The most prominent increase happened in the first year.

January 2023
Matan Elkan MD, Yarden Zohar MD, Shani Zilberman-Itskovich MD, Ronit Zaidenstein MD, Ronit Koren MD

Background: Higher body mass index (BMI) has been shown to be a protective factor from mortality in sepsis patients. Yet, whether this effect is different in the very elderly is currently unknown.

Objective: To investigate the relationship between BMI and sepsis outcomes in patients older and younger than 80 years of age.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of consecutive patients admitted with sepsis to Shamir Medical Center, Israel, was conducted. We compared patients older than and younger than 80 years of age with a BMI higher and lower than 25 kg/m² for hospitalization outcomes.

Results: Patients older than 80 years presented with multiple co-morbidities compared to younger patients, but with no difference between BMI groups. Similarly, hospitalization outcomes of functional deterioration, discharge to long-term care facilities, and readmission were not significantly different between BMI groups in the same age category. Mortality was significantly different between BMI groups in patients older than 80 years of age, with higher mortality in BMI < 25 kg/m²: in-hospital mortality (23.4% vs. 14.9%, P < 0.001), 30-day mortality (27.6% vs. 17.9%, P < 0.001), and 90-day mortality (43.4% vs. 28.9%, P < 0.001). This difference was not significant between the groups younger than 80 years old. On logistic regression, BMI over 25 kg/m² was protective in all mortality categories. Nevertheless, there was no significant interaction between age over 80 years to BMI over 25 kg/m² in all mortality outcomes.

Conclusions: Among patients hospitalized with sepsis, higher BMI is a protective factor against mortality in both elderly and younger patients.

January 2022
Zach Rozenbaum MD, Ilan Merdler MD MHA, Itamar Loewenstein MD, Keren Lee-Rozenfeld MD, Shmuel Banai MD, and Yacov Shacham MD

Background: The extent and impact of obesity as an isolated risk factor for coronary artery disease is not clear since co-morbidities serve as confounders and may mask this association.

Objectives: To examine whether obesity is associated with extensive coronary artery disease among metabolically healthy patients presenting with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and to explore the outcomes according to body mass index (BMI).

Methods: We stratified STEMI patients who had a metabolically healthy phenotype and available weight and height data according to BMI: 18.5–25 kg/m² (lean), 25.01–30 kg/m² (overweight), and > 30 kg/m² (obese).

Results: Overall 381 patients were included, 42% lean, 41% overweight, and 17% obese. Patients with increased BMIs had higher levels of low-density proteins and triglycerides (P < 0.05). Obese patients presented with the lowest rates of multi-vessel disease (12.9% vs. 22.9% for overweight and 28% for lean). In a univariable analysis, obese patients were 60% less likely to be diagnosed with multi-vessel disease (odds ratio 0.4, 95% confidence interval 0.2–0.9, P = 0.021) compared to lean patients. The association remained significant in a multivariable model adjusted for baseline characteristics (P = 0.029). There were no differences in 30-day or long-term mortality (median follow-up 3.2 years) among the groups (P > 0.1 for all comparisons).

Conclusions: Metabolically healthy phenotype obesity was associated with lower rates of multi-vessel disease despite higher levels of triglycerides. However, this association did not translate into increased mortality.

December 2021
Sâmara Paula Ferreira Mota Colares MSc, Guilherme Moura Colares MD, Jozélio Freire de Carvalho MD PhD, and Carlos Ewerton Maia Rodrigues MD PhD

Background: Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a narrowing of the lumbar canal causing lower back pain, gluteal pain, and neurogenic claudication. LSS has been associated with cardiovascular co-morbidities. Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a pro-inflammatory condition involving a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, is increasingly prevalent worldwide.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of MetS in patients with LSS, compared to age- and sex-matched healthy controls, and to explore potential associations between MetS and LSS-related clinical parameters and cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study including 64 patients diagnosed as symptomatic LSS (NASS criteria) and 32 controls. MetS was diagnosed using the 2009 Harmonizing criteria adjusted for South Americans. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify independent risk factors for MetS. The level of statistical significance was set at 5%.

Results: The prevalence of MetS was significantly higher in the LSS group than in the control group (76.6% vs. 31.3%; P < 0.001). LSS patients displayed greater waist circumference (P = 0.003), blood glucose levels (P = 0.009) and arterial pressure (P < 0.001) than controls. The variables with independent influence on MetS in the logistic regression model were: diabetes (P = 0.008), blood glucose (P = 0.004), and body mass index (P = 0.005).

Conclusions: MetS was significantly more prevalent among LSS patients, and diabetes and elevated body mass index were found to be risk factors for MetS in these LSS patients

April 2021
Michal Vinker-Shuster MD, Ephraim S. Grossman PhD, and Yonatan Yeshayahu MD

Background: The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) social-distancing strategy, including 7 weeks of strict lockdown, enabled an extraordinary test of stay-at-home regulations, which forced a sedentary lifestyle on all children and adolescents.

Objectives: To assess the lockdown effect on pediatric weight.

Methods: A retrospective-prospective cohort study at our hospital’s pediatric outpatient clinics following the COVID-19 lockdown. Patients aged 0–18 years visiting the clinic were weighed and previous weight and other clinical data were collected from the medical charts. Weight-percentile-for-age standardization was calculated according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization growth tables. Pre- and post-lockdown weight-percentiles-for-age were compared using paired t-test. Multivariate analysis was conducted using linear regression model.

Results: The study was comprised of 229 patients; 117/229 (51.1%) were boys, 60/229 (26.2%) aged under 6 years. Total mean weight-percentile was significantly higher following the lockdown (40.44 vs. 38.82, respectively, P = 0.029). Boys had a significant post-lockdown weight-percentile rise (37.66 vs. 34.42, P = 0.014), whereas girls had higher baseline pre-quarantine weight-percentile of 43.42, which did not change. Patients younger than 6 years had a significant increase in weight-percentiles (39.18 vs. 33.58, P = 0.021). In multivariate analysis these correlations were preserved.

Conclusions: A general weight gain among children was noted, especially in boys during the lockdown, with substantial effect under the age of 6 years. This collateral side-effect should be considered in further quarantine regulations

Uri Gabbay MD MPH, Doron Carmi MD MHA, Aviva Mimouni-Bloch MD, Bat El Goldstein MD, Lital Keinan-Boker MD MPH, and Joseph Meyerovitch MD

Background: Evaluation of children's anthropometrics poses challenges due to age-related changes. The main focus is on height and weight. However, since weight is height-dependent, body mass index (BMI) is the best surrogate measurement of adiposity. Israel has not developed national growth tables; therefore, researchers and clinicians utilize either World Health Organization (WHO) or U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tables as benchmarks.

Objectives: To evaluate the anthropometrics of Israeli children benchmarked by CDC and WHO tables.

Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of the 1987–2003 birth cohort (age 4–18 years) from Clalit Health Services databases. Anthropometrics were retrieved twice: at study entry and one year later. We evaluated them as separate cohorts. Gender-specific age-matched median height and BMI were compared with CDC and WHO height and BMI tables.

Results: The study consisted of 15,650, mean age at study entry 9.5 years (range 4–18). Gender-specific median heights of the Israeli children were similar to CDC and WHO values at younger ages, but were slightly shorter than the age-matched CDC and WHO toward the age of final height in both cohorts. However, gender-specific median BMI was considerably and statistically significant higher compared to CDC and WHO values consistently along the entire age range in both cohorts.

Conclusions: Israeli children were slightly shorter toward the age of final height, compared to WHO and CDC. However, BMI in Israeli children was significantly higher compared to the CDC and WHO consistently along the age range, which raises an alarm regarding obesity patterns

April 2018
Mahmoud Abu–Shakra MD, Devy Zisman MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Howard Amital MD, Yair Levy MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Yair Molad MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Itzhak Roser MD, Nina Avshovich MD, Daphna Paran MD, Tatiana Reitblat MD, Reuven Mader MD, Hillel Savin MD, Joshua Friedman MD, Nicky Lieberman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Chronic fatigue is common among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), affecting quality of life. Osteoporosis is a prevalent co-morbidity in RA patients.

Objectives: To assess the effect of long-term treatment with tocilizumab on fatigue and bone mineral density (BMD) in RA patients with inadequate response to synthetic or biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. 

Methods: In this multicenter, open-label, non-controlled, single-arm study, patients ≥ 18 years of age received intravenous tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks for 96 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)-Fatigue score from baseline to weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96. BMD was assessed before and 96 weeks after treatment. 

Results: The study comprised 145 patients (mean age 53.4 ± 13.4 years, 83.4% women). Of these, 88 (60.7%) completed the 2 year treatment period. The mean FACIT-Fatigue score improved consistently starting from week 4 and showed a statistically significant increase of 5.0 ± 9.7, 6.8 ± 10.5, 7.3 ± 10.9, and 7.3 ± 10.4 from baseline to weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96, respectively (P < 0.0001). Mean BMD of femoral neck and total spine remained stable. Disease activity, acute phase reactants, and composite efficacy measures decreased during the study, while hemoglobin levels increased. Adverse events and serious adverse events were as expected for the known and previously described data.

Conclusions: Tocilizumab therapy for 2 years significantly and clinically decreased fatigue. BMD remained stable and no new safety issue was reported. 


October 2017
Arnon Blum MD, Hila Yehuda MSc, Nissim Geron MD and Ari Meerson PhD

Background: Weight loss surgery is the most effective treatment for obesity, and it reduces cardiovascular and cancer risk through poorly understood mechanisms. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short RNA molecules that regulate the stability and translation of many mRNAs. We hypothesized that levels of specific circulating miRNAs are altered following surgery and may contribute to lower cancer risk.

Objectives: To investigate the change of miRNA following surgery.

Methods: All patients underwent gastric “sleeve operation”. RNA was isolated from sera of 21 patients (14 men, 7 women) before and 3 months after surgery. Sera were combined into two pools, which served for cDNA library construction followed by miSeq sequencing. The levels of candidate miRNAs were validated in the individual samples by QRT-PCR.

Results: Serum miR-122 was significantly up-regulated 3 months post-bariatric surgery in sera of patients, whose endothelial function had greatly improved. In addition, serum miR-122 levels correlated positively with endothelial function as measured by FMD. The changes in miR-122 levels from pre-surgery to 3 months post-surgery also tended to correlate with the respective changes in FMD.

Conclusions: The serum miR-122/miR-451 ratio may serve as a marker for endothelial function in obese patients. miR-122 is the dominant miRNA in the liver and a known tumor suppressor. Our findings suggest a role for circulating miR-122 in the maintenance of vascular endothelial cells (VECs) and in the prevention of cancer. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanism of its secretion into circulation and its absorption by VECs, as well as its relevant cellular targets.

January 2016
Ruth Shaylor BMBS BMedSci, Fayez Saifi MD, Elyad Davidson MD and Carolyn F. Weiniger MB ChB

Background: Successful neuraxial block performance relies on assessment and palpation of surface landmarks, potentially challenging in patients with high body mass index (BMI). 

Objectives: To evaluate the use of ultrasound-assisted neuraxial bock in a non-obstetric population with BMI above versus below 30 kg/m2.

Methods: Healthy adult patients undergoing extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) under neuraxial block were observed in this quality assurance study. Prior to the neuraxial block, an ultrasound examination was performed to identify the puncture site. Neuraxial anesthesia block was performed under aseptic surgical conditions with the patient in the sitting position. Following block placement, external landmarks were palpated. Our primary study outcome was the number of attempts (skin insertions with the needle) after pre-puncture ultrasound identification of the insertion point, comparing patients with BMI above versus below 30 kg/m2. Our secondary outcome was assessment by palpation of external anatomical landmarks.

Results: Our study group included 63 consecutive patients undergoing neuraxial block for ESWL. Data were assessed according to BMI (above versus below 30 kg/m2). An overall success rate at the first attempt of 90.5% (CI 0.8–0.95) was achieved using ultrasound-guided neuraxial block. This block placement success rate was similar for all patients, regardless of BMI above versus below 30 kg/m2. In contrast, the ease of palpation of anatomic landmarks, P = 0.001, and the ease of palpation of iliac crest, P < 0.001, differed significantly between the patients above versus below 30 kg/m2. The reported verbal pain scores (VPS) due to block insertion was similar among all patients regardless of BMI category (above versus below 30 kg/m2).

Conclusions: We observed high success rates when ultrasound-assisted neuraxial block is performed, regardless of BMI above versus below 30 kg/m2, despite expected differences in surface landmark palpation. 


November 2015
Asnat Raziel MD, Nasser Sakran MD, Amir Szold MD, Judith Sandbank MD, Dan Hershko MD and David Goitein MD

Background: Gallbladder (GB) cancer is rare. Most cases are incidentally found in specimens after a cholecystectomy. Cholelithiasis is almost always present when this diagnosis is made. Obesity is a known risk factor for gallstone formation and thus may be related to GB cancer. 

Objectives: To highlight the importance of evaluation of the gallbladder before surgery, resection of the gallbladder whenever required, and screening the resected tissue for malignancy.

Methods: We retrospectively queried a prospectively maintained database of all bariatric procedures during the last 8 years for cases of concomitant laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) and laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). Pathologic reports of the gallbladders were reviewed. Demographic data and perioperative parameters were documented. 

Results: Of 2708 patients reviewed, 1721 (63.55%) were females and 987 (36.45%) males. Excluded were 145 (5.35%) who had a previous cholecystectomy. Of the remaining 2563, 180 (7.02%) had symptomatic gallbladder disease and underwent LSG with LC. Of these, two females (BMI 53 kg/m² and BMI 47 kg/m², both age 60) were found by histological examination to have adenocarcinoma in their GB specimens (1.11%). Both were reoperated, which included partial hepatectomy of the GB bed, resection of the cystic stump, lymph node dissection, and resection of the port sites. One patient is doing well, with no evidence of disease at a postoperative follow-up of 4 years. The second patient had recurrent disease with peritoneal spread and ascites 20 months post-surgery and died 18 months later. 

Conclusions: GB cancer is a rare finding in cholecystectomy specimens. The incidence of this entity might be higher in obese older females owing to the higher incidence of cholelithiasis in these patients. 


October 2015
David Goitein MD, Alex Zendel MD, Lior Segev MD, Anya Feigin MD and Douglas Zippel MD

Background: Obesity causes specific sexual problems, including diminished sexual desire, poor performance and avoidance of sexual encounters.

Objectives: To systematically evaluate the effect of bariatric surgery on patients' sexual function as compared to their preoperative status.

Methods: Bariatric surgery candidates were given a validated sexual function questionnaire the day before surgery and again 1 year after surgery. Females were polled with the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and males with the Brief Sexual Function Inventory (BSFI). Statistical analysis was performed to elucidate differences in response to the questionnaires.

Results: The study population included 34 females and 14 males. Mean age and body mass index (BMI) were 40.2 ± 10.2 years and 43.4 ± 5.3 kg/m2, respectively. Postoperative BMI was 31.4 ± 4.9 kg/m2 (P < 0.001). Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy was performed in 36 patients and laparoscopic Roux-y gastric bypass in 12. In females, the FSFI index rose significantly from 24 to 30 (P = 0.006), indicating increased sexual performance and satisfaction. In males the BSFI increased from 40.2 to 43.9 but did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.08). However, general satisfaction, desire and erection were each significantly improved within the BSFI.

Conclusions: In addition to the well-documented medical and quality-of-life benefits of bariatric surgery, there is also clear improvement in patients' sexual function, both physical and psychosexual.


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