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עמוד בית
Thu, 07.12.23

Search results

April 2005
L. Saidel-Odes and H. Shmuel Odes
 Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in Israel. Our current understanding of the colorectal adenoma-carcinoma sequence has led to the use of screening for timely detection of polyps and cancer. Digital examination of the rectum is a test that can be performed by all doctors. Fecal occult blood testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are the standard screening techniques for patients. Computerized tomography colonography is now entering this field. This review discusses the merits and uncertainties of these strategies as related to the risk of colorectal cancer in selected populations.

October 2004
K. Belkic

Israel has a National Screening Program for early detection of breast cancer. The need to continue and even expand this program was recently stressed in light of the high risk in the population. However, the optimal modalities for breast cancer screening are controversial, especially for women at risk. Mammography, the established screening method, is critically examined, and molecular imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging are explored, especially for primary breast cancer detection. MRS[1] and MRSI[2] are currently limited by their reliance on the conventional framework for data analysis in biomedical imaging, i.e., the fast Fourier transform. Recent mathematical advances in signal processing via the fast Pade transform can extract diagnostically important information, which until now has been unavailable with in vivo MRS. A clinical MRS signal illustrates the rapid and stable convergence provided by FPT[3], yielding accurate information about key metabolites and their concentrations at short acquisition times. We suggest that the next step would be to apply the FPT to in vivo MRS/MRSI signals from patients with breast cancer and to compare these to findings for normal breast tissue. The potential implications of such an optimized MRS/MRSI for breast cancer screening strategies are discussed, especially for younger women at high risk.

[1] MRS = magnetic resonance spectroscopy

[2] MRSI = magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging

[3] FPT = fast Padé transform

September 2004
R. Gofin, B. Adler and H. Palti

Background: Prenatal care in Israel is established as a universal service, but the degree of compliance with care recommendations may vary with the healthcare provider or the characteristics of the population.

Objectives: To study referral to and compliance with the performance of ultrasound, alpha-fetoprotein and amniocentesis and the factors associated with them in a national sample. 

Methods: The sampling frame consisted of women who gave birth during March 2000. The sample included 1,100 Israeli Jewish and Arab women who resided in localities with over 50,000 and 20,000 inhabitants respectively. They were interviewed by phone 3 months after delivery. 

Results: In both population groups 30% reported having seven or more ultrasounds during pregnancy. The performance of fetal body scans was relatively low. Factors associated with non-performance among Jewish women were: lower education, religiousness, and attending Mother and Child Health services as compared to all other services. Seventy-seven percent of Jewish women and 84% of Arab women reported that they had been referred for alpha-protein tests. For women aged 35 and over, 55% of Jewish women were referred and 63% complied, whereas 39% of Arab women were referred but none complied.

Conclusions: Ultrasound is almost universally performed among Jewish and Arab women; however fetal body scans, alpha-fetoprotein and amniocentesis (for women over the age of 35) are not. The reasons for the lower coverage may be due to under-referral and/or lack of compliance of the women, perhaps due to sociocultural barriers. In both population groups considerable out-of-pocket money is paid for the tests.

June 2004
M. Carmon, L. Rivkin, R. Abu-Dalo, M. Goldberg, I. Hadas, I. Zagal, S. Strano, A. Fisher and O. Lernau

Background: Major efforts are being directed at the early diagnosis of breast cancer. The diagnosis rate of non-palpable tumors is steadily growing as a result of increased screening by mammography. In most patients with non-palpable lesions, percutaneous image-guided biopsies have replaced wire localization with surgical excision for obtaining tissue diagnosis. In recent years the Israel Ministry of Health initiated a mammograpy screening program. Percutaneous image-guided biopsies have also become widely available.

Objective: To assess the impact of these changes on breast cancer surgical treatment in our hospital.

Methods: The charts of 483 patients operated on in our department for primary breast carcinoma during the years 1997 to mid-2001 were reviewed. Data on the mode of diagnosis, tumor stage, resection margins, and number and types of operations were recorded and analyzed. The term non-palpable tumors relates to tumors necessitating wire localization for surgical excision.

Results: The percentage of patients diagnosed with non-palpable tumors rose from 16.2% in 1997 to 47.4% in 2001, with an average size of 2.6 cm for palpable and 1.7 cm for non-palpable tumors. The rate of preoperative diagnosis for non-palpable tumors rose from 6.2% in 1997 to 96.4% in 2001. The rate of involved or very close margins was reduced by 73% in the patient group diagnosed preoperatively as compared to those without a preoperative diagnosis (10.6% vs. 39.4%). Finally, the percentage of patients who had two operations fell from 56.2% in 1997 to 11.1% in 2001.

Conclusions: The mammography screening program in Jerusalem in 1997–2001 was effective in increasing the relative percentage of non-palpable breast cancers with reduced tumor size at diagnosis. The improved availability of preoperative tissue diagnosis in these patients reduced the number of surgical procedures needed.

January 2004
C.E. Wrede, S. Hutzler, L.C. Bollheimer, R. Buettner, C. Hellerbrand, J. Schoelmerich and K-D. Palitzsch

Background: Genetic hemochromatosis leads to iron overload in many tissues and may lead to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Early diagnosis and therapy are crucial. Since 80–100% of hemochromatosis patients of European origin are homozygous for a cysteine to tyrosine exchange in the HFE gene at codon 282, genetic screening might be useful. Representative population studies are needed to evaluate the phenotype of people heterozygous and homozygous for the C282Y mutation.

Objective: To determine the correlation between parameters of iron metabolism and the hemochromatosis genotype in a large population-based study.

Methods: A representative population-based survey, the Diabetomobil study, analyzed 5,083 German probands. Serum transferrin saturation and ferritin levels were determined, and the C282Y mutation of the HFE gene was analyzed by restriction fragment length polymorphism- polymerase chain reaction analysis.

Results: Nine of 373 probands with a transferrin saturation > 55% (2.4%) and none of 264 randomly selected probands with a transferrin saturation £ 55% (0%) were homozygous for the C282Y mutation. Three of the nine homozygous probands had ferritin values less than 250 µg/L. The frequency of the heterozygous genotype was 8.8%, and the percentage of heterozygous probands increased with increasing levels of transferrin saturation.

Conclusion:We propose a population screening strategy with an initial transferrin saturation test, followed by genotyping for the C282Y mutation if the transferrin saturation is above 55%, regardless of the ferritin level. Heterozygous individuals with higher transferrin saturation values may be protected against iron loss but may also be more susceptible for certain liver diseases, depending on the simultaneous prevalence of other diseases.

November 2003
G.W. Diamond, Y. Senecky, D. Schurr, J. Zuckerman, D. Inbar, A. Eidelman and H.J. Cohen

Background: The number of child adoptions from abroad is increasing, but the adverse living conditions of these children prior to the adoption raise questions on their medical and neurodevelopmental status, particularly since there are no guidelines for pre- or post-adoption medical evaluation.

Objectives: To describe the condition of a cohort of young children who were candidates for adoption in East European orphanages and foster homes, and to determine those attributes associated with a family's decision to adopt or refuse a particular child.

Methods: Eighty-two young children, median age 11 months, were evaluated by Israeli pediatricians in Eastern Europe between 3 weeks and 6 months prior to their adoption. The evaluation consisted of comprehensive medical and neurodevelopmental testing on site using a battery of standardized assessment tools, and observation of free play and social interactive behaviors recorded on videotape. Laboratory tests included complete blood count, chemistries, serology screening, and metabolic and genetic testing.

Results: The children were growth-retarded. Medical problems were classified as resolved (pneumonia and diarrhea) in 32.8%; or ongoing, such as hepatitis B and (3, failure to thrive, organomegaly, and visual and hearing disorders, in 14.8%. Neuromotor status was grossly abnormal in 13.4%. Twenty-two percent of the children were rejected for adoption by families in Israel. Factors associated with the adoption decision were performance skills on developmental testing (P = 0.0001), present medical status (P = 0.002), and weight )P = 0.016(.

Conclusions: Pre-placement comprehensive screening of children eligible for foreign adoption, which includes developmental screening, helps to identify a wide variety of strengths and impairments in a child's background before the adoption procedure is finalized. A family's decision to adopt or not was associated with the child's performance on Bayley Scales, weight, and current medical status, but not with language delays, serious past medical history or suspect family background.

June 2002
Shlomo Vinker, MD, Sasson Nakar, MD, Elliot Rosenberg, MD, MPH and Eliezer Kitai, MD

Background: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in Israel. Unfortunately, compliance  with annual fecal occult blood testing is very low.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of interventions to increase FOBT[1] screening in primary care clinics in Israel.

Methods: A prospective, randomized study included all 50–75 year old enrollees of six family physicians in two primary care clinics. The register of two physicians, one from each clinic, was allocated to one of three groups. Two FOBT reminder strategies were tested: a physician reminder (753 patients), and a patient reminder that was either a phone call (312 patients) or a letter (337 patients). The control group (913 patients) of physicians continued administering their regular level of care. The main outcome measure was the percentage of patients undergoing FOBT screening in each study arm at the conclusion of the one year study period.

Results: In the intervention groups 14.3% (201/1,402) were screened using the FOBT over the course of the study year. Using an intent-to-screen analysis, the screening rate in the physician and patient reminder groups was significantly higher than in the control group(16.5 and 11.9%,vs. 1.2% respectively, P < 0.0001). Phone reminders were significantly more efective as compared to letters (14.7 vs. 9.2%, P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Our study has shown the benefit of various FOBT reminder systems, especially those centered around the family physician. Further research should focus on this area, in conjunction with other novel approaches.


[1] FOBT = fecal occult blood testing

February 2002
Leah Peleg, PhD, Rachel Pesso, PhD, Boleslaw Goldman, MD, Keren Dotan, Merav Omer, Eitan Friedman, MD, PhD, Michal Berkenstadt, PhD, Haike Reznik-Wolf, PhD and Gad Barkai, MD

Background: The Bloom syndrome gene, BLM, was mapped to 15q26.1 and its product was found to encode a RecQ DNA helicase. The Fanconi anemia complementation group C gene was mapped to chromosome 9q22.3, but its product function is not sufficiently clear. Both are recessive disorders associated with an elevated predisposition to cancer due to genomic instability. A single predominant mutation of each disorder was reported in Ashkenazi Jews: 2281delATCTGAinsTAGATTC for Bloom syndrome (BLM-ASH) and IVS4+4A®T for Fanconi anemia complementation group C.

Objectives: To provide additional verification of the mutation rate of BLM and FACC[1] in unselected Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi populations analyzed at the Sheba Medical Center, and to trace the origin of each mutation.

Methods: We used polymerase chain reaction to identify mutations of the relevant genomic fragments, restriction analysis and gel electrophoresis. We then applied the ProntoTM kit to verify the results in 244 samples and there was an excellent match.

Results: A heterozygote frequency of 1:111 for BLM-ASH and 1:92 for FACC was detected in more than 4,000 participants, none of whom reported a family history of the disorders. The ProntoTM kit confirmed all heterozygotes. Neither of the mutations was detected in 950 anonymous non-Ashkenazi Jews. The distribution pattern of parental origin differed significantly between the two carrier groups, as well as between each one and the general population.

Conclusions: These findings as well as the absence of the mutations in non-Ashkenazi Jews suggest that: a) the mutations originated in the Israelite population that was exiled from Palestine by the Roman Empire in 70 AD and settled in Europe (Ashkenazi), in contrast to those who remained; and b) the difference in origin distribution of the BS[2] and FACC mutations can be explained by either a secondary migration of a subgroup with a subsequent genetic drift, or a separate geographic region of introduction for each mutation.


[1] FACC = Fanconi anemia complementation group C

[2] BS = Bloom syndrome

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.

Sophia Eilat-Tsanani MD, Mordechai Sorek MD, Nir Gay MD, Ora Chaimovitch MD, Lev Kulton MD and Hava Tabenkin MD MSc

Background: Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women in Israel and throughout the world. Israeli women aged 50–75 years are advised to undergo a mammographic screening examination every 2 years. However, the lack of a structured referral system is reflected in the low utilization rate of mammography.

Objectives: To describe an innovative program in which family physicians in an urban clinic developed a model framework for referrals, coordinated with radiologists and surgeons, aimed at increasing compliance among women referred for mammography.

Methods: A community-based study was conducted, outside of the regular reception hours, in a neighborhood practice with a population of 527 women aged 50–75. A referral system under the supervision of family physicians was designed, and the women received appointments for mammography at specified days and hours. The results of the examination were sent to the physician who used dedicated time to continue the diagnostic and/or therapeutic process, as appropriate. At the physician’s instructions a research assistant contacted the women who did not keep their appointments and scheduled a second appointment.

Results: In 1993, the year prior to the study, when women referred themselves for mammography, the utilization rate was 9%. During the study year the utilization rate was 77%. Women born in Europe or America had higher compliance rates than women born in Asia or Africa (81% vs. 72%, respectively). Married women were more compliant than unmarried women (81% vs. 70%, respectively). No correlation was found between compliance and age, family history of cancer in general, or breast cancer in particular. Six new cases of breast cancer were detected.

Conclusions: The initiative of family physicians increased the utilization of mammography among women under their care. Family physicians allocated time outside of their regular reception hours for the program. A relatively large number of new malignancies were found, but this impression should be confirmed or negated by a large-scale study using the same methods.

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