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Sat, 02.03.24

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September 2018
Keren Cohen-Hagai MD, Dan Feldman MD, Tirza Turani-Feldman BOT, Ruth Hadary MD, Shilo Lotan MD and Yona Kitay-Cohen MD

Background: Magnesium is an essential intracellular cation. Magnesium deficiency is common in the general population and its prevalence among patients with cirrhosis is even higher. Correlation between serum levels and total body content is poor because most magnesium is intracellular. Minimal hepatic encephalopathy is a subclinical phase of hepatic encephalopathy with no overt symptoms. Cognitive exams can reveal minor changes in coordination, attention, and visuomotor function, whereas language and verbal intelligence are usually relatively spared.

Objectives: To assess the correlation between intracellular and serum magnesium levels and minimal hepatic encephalopathy.

Methods: Outpatients with a diagnosis of compensated liver cirrhosis were enrolled in this randomized, double-blinded study. Patients were recruited for the study from November 2013 to January 2014, and were randomly assigned to a control (placebo) or an interventional (treated with magnesium oxide) group. Serum and intracellular magnesium levels were measured at enrollment and at the end of the study. Cognitive function was assessed by a specialized occupational therapist.

Results: Forty-two patients met the inclusion criteria, 29 of whom were included in this study. Among these, 83% had abnormal cognitive exam results compatible with minimal hepatic encephalopathy. While only 10% had hypomagnesemia, 33.3% had low levels of intracellular magnesium. Initial intracellular and serum magnesium levels positively correlated with cognitive performance.

Conclusions: Magnesium deficiency is common among patients with compensated liver cirrhosis. We found an association between magnesium deficiency and impairment in several cognitive function tests. This finding suggests involvement of magnesium in the pathophysiology of minimal hepatic encephalopathy.

May 2018
Ido Laish MD, Amir Mari MD, Batya Mannasse MSc, Ruth Hadary MD, Fred Meir Konikoff PhD, Aliza Amiel PhD and Yona Kitay-Cohen MD

Background: Shortened telomeres were found in patients with cirrhosis, probably reflecting chronic liver injury, continuous regeneration, and destruction of hepatic nodules.

Objectives: To test whether telomere shortening is a general marker of cirrhosis, independent of disease etiology.

Methods: We evaluated telomere length in patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis (largely a late sequela of steatohepatitis) compared to patients with cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis B and C (HBV/HCV). We also evaluated telomere aggregates, a sensitive parameter of telomere dysfunction and genetic instability. We analyzed peripheral lymphocytes from 25 patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis, 15 patients with cirrhosis due to chronic viral hepatitis, and 20 age-matched controls. Telomere length was analyzed using quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization. Aggregate size was divided into three fusion groups of 2–5, 6–10, and 11–15 telomeres, relative to the size of a single telomere.

Results: Shorter telomere length was found in patients with cirrhosis from all three etiologies (mean 121.3 ± 24.1) compared to controls (mean 63.5 ± 23.5). In contrast, there was significantly more fusion of > 5 telomeres only in the HBV/HCV cirrhosis group compared to healthy controls (P = 0.023), but not in the cryptogenic cirrhosis group.

Conclusions: While shortened telomeres in peripheral lymphocytes are a general marker of liver cirrhosis, telomere aggregates may signify a more sensitive genetic instability parameter for the diverse, etiology-based malignant potential of cirrhosis. This finding is in agreement with the well-known higher tendency toward developing hepatocellular carcinoma with cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis relative to steatohepatitis.

July 2011
L. Barzilay-Yoseph, A. Shabun, L. Shilo, R. Hadary, D. Nabriski and Y. Kitay-Cohen
April 2006
U. Abadi, R. Hadary, L.Shilo, A. Shabun, G. Greenberg and S. Kovatz
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