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עמוד בית
Fri, 01.12.23

Search results

August 2014
Ronit Nesher MD, on behalf of the Israel Glaucoma Screening Group*

* Israel Glaucoma Screening Group 2009-2010 (in alphabetical order):

Applebaum E, Arodi A, Avidar A, Barkana Y, Beiran I, Bracha Z, Burgansky Z, Cotlear D, Dafna O, Drori L, ElNaddaf H, Epstein E, Garzozi H, Gawi H, Geffen N, Glovinsky Y, Hadayer A, Jubran R, Kalev-Landoy M, Kaniezer B, Kratz A, Kurtz S, Matanes M, Mazover A, Mazzawi N, Naveh L, Nesher R, Neuman H, Pedut T, Pikel Y, Rachmiel R, Rath E, Robinson A, Segev E, Shemesh G, Shoham N, Silverston B, Tam G, Tessler Z, Tiosano B, Vidan A, Vishinevski I, Zalish M, Zarfati D, Zorani Y.

Background: Early detection of glaucoma enables early initiation of treatment. Screening populations at risk is likely to help achieve this goal.

Objectives: To increase public awareness regarding early detection of glaucoma, and estimate the prevalence of increased intraocular pressure (IOP) and optic disk cupping in the screened population.

Methods: A public awareness campaign was carried out in Israel during the 2009 and 2010 World Glaucoma Week, culminating each year in a one-day, free-of-charge screening of individuals in 13 outreach public locations. Screening was performed by 45 ophthalmologists and included a brief medical history, slit-lamp exam with measurement of intraocular pressure (IOP), and evaluation of cup/disk ratio.

Results: A total of 2560 individuals were screened; the mean age was 59 ± 13 years. IOP ≥ 21 mmHg was found in 4.8%, and 12.3% had cupping ≥ 0.5. IOP ≥ 21 mmHg together with cupping ≥ 0.5 were present in 1.4% and this rate increased with age: 3.7% of cases in the age group ≥ 70 years compared to 1% and 0.6% in the age groups 50–69 and < 50 years, respectively (P < 0.001). Likewise, the prevalence of cupping ≥ 0.7 and of IOP ≥ 24 mmHg increased significantly with age. The prevalence of IOP ≥ 21 mmHg increased in cases with a family history of glaucoma in first-degree relatives (10.5% compared to 3.9%, P < 0.001). The prevalence of IOP ≥ 21 mmHg was also increased in diabetic patients (8.3% vs. 4.3% in non-diabetics, P = 0.002). Further ophthalmologic evaluation was recommended to 13% of the screened individuals.

Conclusions: Outreach screening for glaucoma is a valuable tool for detecting glaucoma, pre-perimetric glaucoma, or ocular hypertension in a meaningful number of previously undiagnosed cases. Yet, cost-effectiveness issues should also be considered. The yield of such screening increases with age and seems to be most advantageous in cases with diabetes or a family history of glaucoma. 

August 2013
R. Somech, A. Lev, A.J. Simon, D. Korn, B.Z. Garty, N. Amariglio, G. Rechavi, S. Almashanu, J. Zlotogora and A. Etzioni
 Background: Enumeration of T cell receptor excision circles (TREC) was recently adopted as a neonatal screening assay for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Enumeration of kappa-deleting recombination excision circle (KREC) copy numbers can be similarly used for early assessment of B cell lymphopenia.

Objective: To assess the ability of TREC and KREC counts to identify patients with combined T and B cell immunodeficiency in a pilot study in Israel.

Methods: We studied seven children born in Israel during the years 2010–2011 and later diagnosed with SCID, and an additional patient with pure B cell immunodeficiency. TREC and KREC in peripheral blood upon diagnosis and in their neonatal Guthrie cards were analyzed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, as were Guthrie cards with dried blood spots from healthy newborns and from normal and SCID-like controls.

Results: The first features suggestive of SCID presented at age 3.1 ± 2.4 months in all patients. Yet, the diagnosis was made 4.1 ± 2.9 months later. Their TREC were undetectable or significantly low at their clinical diagnosis and in their originally stored Guthrie cards, irrespective of the amount of their circulating T cells. KREC were undetectable in six SCID patients who displayed B cell lymphopenia in addition to T cell lymphopenia. KREC were also undetectable in one patient with pure B cell immunodeficiency.

Conclusions: TREC and KREC quantification are useful screening tests for severe T and B cell immunodeficiency. Implementation of these tests is highly important especially in countries such as Israel where a high frequency of consanguinity is known to exist. 

June 2013
G. Barkai, A. Barzilai, E. Mendelson, M. Tepperberg-Oikawa, D. Ari-Even Roth and J. Kuint
 Background: Congenital cytomegalovirus (C-CMV) infection affects 0.4–2% of newborn infants in Israel, most of whom are asymptomatic. Of these, 10–20% will subsequently develop hearing impairment and might have benefitted from early detection by neonatal screening.

Objectives: To retrospectively analyze the results of a screening program for C-CMV performed at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, during a 1 year period, using real-time polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR) from umbilical cord blood.

Methods: CMV DNA was detected by rt-PCR performed on infants’ cord blood. C-CMV was confirmed by urine culture (Shell-vial). All confirmed cases were further investigated for C-CMV manifestations by head ultrasound, complete blood count, liver enzyme measurement, ophthalmology examination and hearing investigation.

Results: During the period 1 June 2009 to 31 May 2010, 11,022 infants were born at the Sheba Medical Center, of whom 8105 (74%) were screened. Twenty-three (0.28%) were positive for CMV and 22 of them (96%) were confirmed by urine culture. Two additional infants, who had not been screened, were detected after clinical suspicion. All 24 infants were further investigated, and 3 (12.5%) had central nervous system involvement (including hearing impairment) and were offered intravenous ganciclovir for 6 weeks. Eighteen (82%) infants would not otherwise have been diagnosed.

Conclusions: The relatively low incidence of C-CMV detected in our screening program probably reflects the low sensitivity of cord blood screening. Nevertheless, this screening program reliably detected a non-negligible number of infants who could benefit from early detection. Other screening methods using saliva should be investigated further.


I. Fuchs, M. Abu-Shakra and E. Sikuler
 Information on reactivation of chronic viral hepatitis infection in patients who are candidates for tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors (TNFi) is in a constant state of flux. We retrieved the most updated guidelines (in English) of prominent rheumatological and gastroenterological professional societies for the management of chronic hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the context of treatment with TNFi. Subsequently, the major areas of uncertainty and absence of consensus in the guidelines were located and a secondary search for additional studies addressing those areas was performed. Based on our search we formulated a personal interpretation applicable to health care settings with virological laboratories capable of performing viral load measurements, and health systems that can support use of potent nucleoside/tide analogues in well-defined patient populations.


November 2012
September 2012
R. Sukenik-Halevy, U. leil-Zoabi, L, Peled-Perez, J. Zlotogora, and S. Allon-Shalev

Background: Genetic screening tests for cystic fibrosis (CF), fragile X (FRAX) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) have been offered to the entire Arab population of Israel in the last few years. Since 2008, screening for CF is provided free of charge, but for FRAX and SMA the screening is privately funded with partial coverage by complementary health insurance programs.

Objectives: To assess the compliance of Arab couples for genetic screening tests, and the factors that affect their decisions.

Methods: We analyzed compliance for genetic screening tests at the Emek Medical Center Genetic Institute, and in outreach clinics in four Arab villages. We enquired about the reasons individuals gave for deciding not to undergo testing. We also assessed the compliance of these individuals for the triple test (a screening test for Down syndrome).

Results: Of the 167 individuals included in our study, 24 (14%) decided not to be tested at all. Of the 143 (86%) who decided to be tested, 109 were tested for CF only (65%) and 34 (20%) for SMA and FRAX (as well as CF). The compliance rate for the triple test was 87%. Technical reasons, mainly financial issues, were the most significant factor for not undergoing all three tests.

Conclusions: The compliance of the Arab community for genetic testing for SMA and FRAX is extremely low. We believe that this low utilization of screening is due to economic reasons, especially when a complementary health plan has not been acquired, and largely reflects the perception that these tests are less important since they are privately funded.

July 2012
S. Giryes, E. Leibovitz, Z. Matas, S. Fridman, D. Gavish, B. Shalev, Z. Ziv-Nir, Y. Berlovitz and M. Boaz
Background: Depending on the definition used, malnutrition is prevalent among 20¨C50% of hospitalized patients. Routine nutritional screening is necessary to identify patients with or at increased risk for malnutrition. The Nutrition Risk Screening (NRS 2002) has been recommended as an efficient tool to identify the risk of malnutrition in adult inpatients.

Objectives: To utilize the NRS 2002 to estimate the prevalence of malnutrition among newly hospitalized adult patients, and to identify risk factors for malnutrition.

Methods: During a 5 week period, all adult patients newly admitted to all inpatient departments (except Maternity and Emergency) at Wolfson Medical Center, Holon, were screened using the NRS 2002. An answer of yes recorded for any of the Step 1 questions triggered the Step 2 screen on which an age-adjusted total score ¡Ý 3 indicated high malnutrition risk.

Results: Data were obtained from 504 newly hospitalized adult patients, of whom 159 (31.5%) were identified as high risk for malnutrition. Malnutrition was more prevalent in internal medicine than surgical departments: 38.6% vs. 19.1% (P < 0.001). Body mass index was within the normal range among subjects at high risk for malnutrition: 23.9 ¡À 5.6 kg/m2 but significantly lower than in subjects at low malnutrition risk: 27.9 ¡À 5.3 kg/m2 (P < 0.001). Malnutrition risk did not differ by gender or smoking status, but subjects at high malnutrition risk were significantly older (73.3 ¡À 16.2 vs. 63.4 ¡À 18.4 years, P < 0.001). Total protein, albumin, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol, hemoglobin and %lymphocytes were all significantly lower, whereas urea, creatinine and %neutrophils were significantly higher in patients at high malnutrition risk.

Conclusions: Use of the NRS 2002 identified a large proportion of newly hospitalized adults as being at high risk for malnutrition. These findings indicate the need to intervene on a system-wide level during hospitalization.
May 2012
S. Jaworowski, D. Raveh, J.-L. Golmard, C. Gropp and J. Mergui

Background: Alcohol consumption in Israel has increased over the last 20 years. Patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) who present at a hospital enable early intervention. Objectives: To examine, for the first time, the characteristics of AUD patients in an Israeli general hospital, including whether their alcohol use is documented in their file.

Methods: A group of 178 consecutive patients referred for psychiatric consultation was compared to a second group of 105 hospitalized patients who were not referred. These two groups were studied to compare risk factors for AUD. Patients in both groups were prospectively interviewed using a CAGE questionnaire, demonstrated as an effective screening instrument for AUD. Patients' files in both groups were examined for documentation of alcohol use.

Results: There was no significant difference between the prevalence of AUD in the two groups. The groups were then merged since no significant difference in the risk factor effects between the two groups was found. The risk factors for AUD in the final statistical analysis were lower educational status, living alone, being born in the Former Soviet Union and weaker religious observance. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cigarette smoking and substance use were found to be independent risk factors. Soldier status was associated with significant alcohol misuse and AUD (CAGE1–4). Alcohol consumption was documented in the files of AUD patients in 48% of the first group and 21% of the second.

Conclusions: Physicians often neglect to take a history of alcohol consumption. Routine use of the CAGEquestionnaire is recommended in Israeli general hospitals. Special attention should be given to PTSD patients and to soldiers.

December 2011
T. Smolkin, I. Ulanovsky, S. Blazer and I.R. Makhoul
March 2011
J. Levy, T. Lifshitz, D. Goldfarb, B. Knyazer and N. Belfair

Background: Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of adult blindness and accounts for about 10% of cases of legal blindness in Israel. Only about half of the patients with diabetes in Israel have regular eye examinations.

Objectives: To evaluate, for the first time in southern Israel, a new service for diabetic retinopathy screening that uses a mobile non-mydriatic mobile fundus camera in primary care patients.

Methods: Diabetic members of the largest health fund in southern Israel and over 18 years old were invited for non-mydriatic fundus examination between January and October 2009. Screening was performed by a trained photographer using the Topcon TRC NW-6S non-mydriatic camera in nine primary care centers.

Results: A total of 4318 diabetic patients were screened, of whom 53% were classified as normal. The incidence of diabetic retinopathy was 15.8% (1.2% had proliferative retinopathy and 2.4% had suspected macular edema and were referred for laser treatment). Other possible sight-threatening conditions were detected in 9.3%. Fundus pictures were inadequate for assessment in 16% of cases.

Conclusions: Diabetic retinopathy screening with a mobile non-mydriatic fundus camera improved the quality of care for diabetic patients in southern Israel. This screening method identified patients requiring prompt referral to the ophthalmologist for further complete eye examination. Extending this screening program to other areas in the country should be considered.

January 2011
A. Gover, D. Bader, M. Weinger-Abend, I. Chystiakov, E. Miller, A. Riskin, O. Hochwald, L. Beni-Adani, E. Tirosh and A. Kugelman

Background: The rate of brain abnormalities in asymptomatic term neonates varies substantially in previous studies. Some of these rates may justify general screening of healthy newborns by head ultrasound.

Objectives: To assess the incidence of intracranial abnormalities among asymptomatic term newborns with HUS[1] and to detect high-risk populations that might need such screening.

Methods: This was a prospective study in 493 term newborns who underwent HUS and a neurological evaluation during the first 3 days of life. The neurological examination results were unknown to the sonographist and the examiner was blinded to the HUS findings. The abnormal HUS findings were classified as significant or non-significant according to the current literature.

Results: Abnormal HUS was found in 11.2% of the neonates. Significant findings were noted in 3.8% of the infants. There was no association between non-structural HUS findings (hemorrhage or echogenicity) and mode of delivery. There was no relationship between any HUS abnormality and birth weight, head circumference and maternal age, ethnicity, education or morbidity. The rate of abnormal neurological, hearing or vision evaluation in infants with a significant abnormal HUS (5.2%) was comparable to the rate in infants with normal or non-significant findings on HUS (3.1%).

Conclusions: There is no indication for routine HUS screening in apparently healthy term neonates due to the relatively low incidence of significant brain abnormalities in these infants in our population.


[1] HUS = head ultrasound

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