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עמוד בית
Fri, 31.05.24

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December 2022
Tanya Ebert MD, Nimrod Goldschmid MD, Edmond Sabo MD, Efrat City-Elifaz MD

Background: School closures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak affected students physically, socially, and psychologically with an increase in the number of children and adolescent presenting with anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.

Objectives: To examine the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on the mental health of minors during the pandemic period and to characterize the type and number of referrals to a regional psychiatric outpatient clinic.

Methods: This study included 380 children evaluated in an outpatient child psychiatric clinic. They were divided into two groups: before the lockdowns (BLD) (n=248), from January 2019 to February 2020, and during the lockdowns (LD) (n=132), from March 2020 to April 2021.

Results: When comparing the LD to BLD, there was increase in suicide attempts (9.8% vs. 2.8%) and in the use of psychotherapy (81% vs. 56%). There was a decrease in the diagnoses of behavior disorders (29.5% vs. 44.8%) and ADHD (29.5% vs. 50%); as well as a decrease in stimulant usage (22.7% vs. 38%). There was a statistically non-significant increase in the number of children with depression, anxiety, and drug-use disorder.

Conclusions: Many children developed educational, social, emotional, and behavioral gaps during LD, and they lost skills to deal with everyday problems due to social isolation. It is important to follow the long-term impact of the lockdowns and social isolation.

June 2022
Ruti Berger PhD and Yossi Weiss PhD MPH

Background: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is a form of international private business self-regulation that aims to contribute to society from a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically oriented practices. The major benefit of ESG is having the organization’s workers recruited for the goal of making the world a better place. There is a growing understanding regarding the extent of the environmental impacts of health services. Therefore, the interest in measuring and reporting the sustainability of health system performance is becoming crucial. As population aging and growth in healthcare demand are two of the main challenges of the current and mainly future health services, performance, and quality measurement as well as sustainability metrices are relevant more than ever.

Objectives: To review the ESG activities at Assuta Medical Centers (AMC) that helped the organization earn the Maala Index Platinum + grade in 2021.

Methods: We reviewed the ESG elements that were implemented at AMC.

Results: AMC entered an ESG process in November 2019 and earned Platinum and Platinum+ grades from the Maala Index in 2020 and 2021, respectively. AMC won the Workforce Diversity prize for having many employees over 60 years of age. AMC activities are detailed as a case study for other health organizations in Israel and worldwide.

Conclusions: A big leading health organization can spearhead sustainable development goals model in Israel and worldwide.

April 2019
Elisabeth Dramsdahl MD, Dag Gundersen Storla MD and Marco Harari MD

Background: Multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation for patients presenting with rheumatic diseases has been shown to produce better results in a warm climate. Dead Sea Climatotherapy (DSC) has been successfully used for decades to treat many patients with rheumatic diseases.

Objectives: To evaluate the short-term improvement of Norwegian patients who presented with chronic pain following a multidisciplinary biopsychosocial approach to treatment combined with DSC. Both objective and subjective clinical parameters were evaluated.

Methods: This retrospective study included a statistical analysis of 938 patients presenting with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (n=105), osteoarthritis (n=342), fibromyalgia (n=374), and other orthopedic conditions (n=117). Clinical assessments were conducted before and after a 3 week treatment program at the Dead Sea.

Results: Six parameters improved significantly in the rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis group as well as in the osteoarthritis group. Five parameters in the fibromyalgia group improved, while two improved in the orthopedic conditions group. Overall, major significant changes occurred in the pain self-assessment, joint motility, and daily activities scores.

Conclusions: A 3-week multidisciplinary biopsychosocial program combined with DSC induced positive changes in the clinical parameters of Norwegian patients presenting with chronic musculoskeletal pain.

September 2018
Orly Kerub RN MA, Eric Haas MD MSCE, Idan Menashe PhD, Nadav Davidovitch MD MPH PhD, Gal Meiri MD MHA
December 2016
Faris Issa BSW and Salman Zarka MD MPH MA
June 2016
Muhammad Mahajnah MD PhD, Rajech Sharkia PhD, Nadeem Shorbaji MSc and Nathanel Zelnik MD

Background: Despite the increased worldwide recognition of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there is a variability in the diagnostic rate of both ADHD and its co-morbidities. These diversities are probably related to the methodology and instruments used for the diagnosis of ADHD and to awareness and cultural interpretation of its existence. 

Objectives: To identify consistent differences in the clinical profile of Arab and Jewish children with ADHD in Israel who differ in their cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic background. 

Methods: We analyzed the data of 823 children and adolescents with ADHD (516 Jews and 307 Arabs) and compared the clinical characteristics between these two ethnic groups. All patients were evaluated in two neuropediatric and child development centers in northern Israel: one in Haifa and one in Hadera. Children with autism and intellectual disabilities were excluded. 

Results: The distribution of ADHD subtypes was similar in both populations. However, learning disorders and psychiatric co-morbidities (behavioral difficulties and anxiety) were reported more frequently in the Jewish population. The most commonly reported adverse effects to psychostimulants were mood changes, anorexia, headache, insomnia and rebound effect, and were more frequently reported in the Jewish population (42.0% vs.18.0%, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: We assume that these differences are related to cultural and socioeconomic factors. We suggest that the physician take cultural background into consideration when treating patients with ADHD.


May 2016
Esteban González-López MD PhD and Rosa Ríos-Cortés MA

During the Nazi period, numerous doctors and nurses played a nefarious role. In Germany they were responsible for the sterilization and killing of disabled persons. Furthermore, the Nazi doctors used concentration camp inmates as guinea pigs in medical experiments for military or racial purposes. A study of the collaboration of doctors with National Socialism exemplifies behavior that must be avoided. Combining medical teaching with lessons from the Holocaust could be a way to transmit Medical Ethics to doctors, nurses and students. The authors describe a study tour with medical students to Poland, to the largest Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz, and to the city of Krakow. The tour is the final component of a formal course entitled: “The Holocaust, a Reflection from Medicine” at the Autónoma University of Madrid, Spain. Visiting sites related to the Holocaust, the killing centers and the sites where medical experiments were conducted has a singular meaning for medical students. Tolerance, non-discrimination, and the value of human life can be both learnt and taught at the very place where such values were utterly absent.

November 2011
A. Bleich, Y. Baruch, S. Hirschmann, G. Lubin, Y. Melamed, Z. Zemishlany and Z. Kaplan

Suicide is universal within the range of human behaviors and is not necessarily related to psychiatric morbidity, though it is considerably more prevalent among psychiatric patients. Considering the limitations of medical knowledge, psychiatrists cope with an unfounded and almost mythical perception of their ability to predict and prevent suicide. We set out to compose a position paper for the Israel Psychiatric Association (IPA) that clarifies expectations from psychiatrists when treating suicidal patients, focusing on risk assessment and boundaries of responsibility, in the era of defensive medicine. The final draft of the position paper was by consensus. The IPA Position Paper established the first standard of care concerning expectations from psychiatrists in Israel with regard to knowledge-based assessment of suicide risk, elucidation of the therapist's responsibility to the suicidal psychotic patient (defined by law) compared to patients with preserved reality testing, capacity for choice, and responsibility for their actions. Therapists will be judged for professional performance rather than outcomes and wisdom of hindsight. This paper may provide support for psychiatrists who, with clinical professionalism rather than extenuating considerations of defensive medicine, strive to save the lives of suicidal patients.

May 2011
A. Autenrieth, W. Thal and J. Rosenecker

Before World War II the number of Jewish physicians practicing pediatric medicine in Germany was very high, but soon after the National Socialists came to power the discrimination against Jewish physicians began. One of them, Dr. Albert Uffenheimer, serves as a moving example of this persecution. Dr. Uffenheimer was engaged in the fight against the high infant mortality and was instrumental in the creation of public health facilities for counselling parents. In 1925 he became Director of the Children’s Hospital in Magdeburg and within a short time had improved the medical care of both infants and mothers. In April 1933, two months after the Nazi takeover, he was dismissed from his post at the Children’s Hospital in Magdeburg and immigrated to the United States. Dr. Uffenheimer was a pioneer in the field of public health before such new concepts were recognized as important. As such he should be remembered as a founding father of social pediatrics in Germany.


February 2010
L. Migirov, G. Borisovsky, E. Carmel, M. Wolf and J. Kronenberg

Background: Severe hearing impairment can have devastating effects on social integration and vocational opportunities.

Objectives: To investigate how well – or poorly – individuals who underwent cochlear implantation as children integrated into the general Israeli hearing community.

Method: We sent a questionnaire to the 30 subjects ≥ 18 years old who underwent cochlear implants our department from 1990 to 2004 when they were < 18 years of age and had used their device for at least 3 years before replying.

Results: Eighteen implant users responded (14 males), yielding a 60% response rate. Their mean age was 13.3 ± 7.0 years (range 6–17) at implantation and 21.1 ± 3.6 years (range 18–34) when they filled in the questionnaire. Five were attending rabbinical school (yeshiva students), four were in regular military service, five were university students (three also held jobs), two were attending high school, one was employed (and had a university degree), and one had left the yeshiva and was unemployed when he returned the questionnaire. Fourteen respondents use the oral communication mode for conversation and the other 4 use both oral and sign languages. Longer daily implant use was significantly associated with coping with the difficulties in the setting in which they were currently active, with a higher level of satisfaction with their current lifestyle and with recognition of the implant’s contribution to this satisfaction (P = 0.037, P = 0.019 and P = 0.001, respectively).

Conclusions: Advances in cochlear implant technologies enable profoundly deaf implanted children to integrate well into the Israeli hearing society, albeit with a large inter-subject variability.

January 2010
D. Alperovitch-Najenson, Y. Santo, Y. Masharawi, M. Katz-Leurer, D. Ushvaev and L. Kalichman

Background: Professional drivers have been found to be at high risk for developing low back pain. However, the exact reasons are poorly understood.

Objectives: To assess the prevalence of LBP[1] among Israeli professional urban bus drivers, and evaluate the association between LBP in drivers and work-related psychosocial and ergonomic risk factors.

Methods: A total of 384 male full-time urban bus drivers were consecutively enrolled to this cross-sectional study. Information on regular physical activity and work-related ergonomic and psychosocial stressing factors was collected during face-to-face interviews. The prevalence of LBP was assessed using the Standardized Nordic Questionnaire.

Results: From the total cohort, 164 bus drivers (45.4%) reported experiencing LBP in the previous 12 months. Ergonomic factors associated with LBP were uncomfortable seat (odds ratio 2.6, 95% confidence interval 1.4–5.0) and an uncomfortable back support (OR[2] 2.5, 95% CI[3] 1.4–4.5). In the group of drivers with LBP, 48.5% reported participation in regular physical activities vs. 67.3% in the group without LBP (P < 0.01). The following psychosocial stressing factors showed significant association with LBP: “limited rest period during a working day” (1.6, 1.0–2.6), “traffic congestion on the bus route” (1.8, 1.2–2.7), “lack of accessibility to the bus stop for the descending and ascending of passengers” (1.5, 1.0–1.5), and “passengers' hostility” (1.8, 1.1–2.9).

Conclusions: Work-related ergonomic and psychosocial factors showed a significant association with LBP in Israeli professional urban bus drivers. Prevention of work-related stress, organizational changes targeted to reduce stressful situations, improvement in seat comfort, and encouraging regular sports activity need to be evaluated as prevention strategies for LBP in professional bus drivers.

[1] LBP = low back pain

[2] OR = odds ratio

[3] CI = confidence interval

September 2003
E.L. Shabtai, M. Ben-Haim, D. Rosin, J. Kuriansky, E. Gazit, A. Ayalon and M. Shabtai

Background: An organ sharing system should achieve fairness and optimal graft longevity. Balancing between social and utilitarian considerations is a sensitive ethical, public and medical issue that requires a means to examine the consequences of any allocation policy or planned changes thereof.

Objective: To evaluate the performance and applicability of a computerized simulation model by examining the impact of two opposing organ allocation policies (social or utilitarian) on predicted organ distribution regarding age, waiting time, recipient sensitization measured by panel reactive antibody level and overall donor-recipient tissue matching (measured by the number of HLA antigen mismatches).

Methods: Using a computerized simulation model, virtual donors and recipients were emulated and organs were allocated according to either social algorithms or utilitarian policies. The resulting number of HLA mismatches, PRA[1], age, and waiting time distributions were compared between allocation strategies.

Results: Simulating allocation of 7,000 organs to 17,000 candidate recipients and implementing social policies yielded donor-recipient compatibility comparable to utilitarian policies (0–1 mm: 19.4% vs. 28%) while allocating 66.7% of organs to long waiters (>48 months).

Conclusion: This computerized simulation model is a valuable tool for decision-makers establishing or modifying organ allocation policies.

[1] PRA = panel reactive antibody

May 2003
M. Shechter, G. Auslander, E.E. Weinmann and A. Bass

Background: The chronic progressive course of peripheral arterial occlusive disease with its limb-threatening and life-threatening potential is associated with physical, psychological and social distress for elderly patients and their families.

Objective: To evaluate the influence of infra-inguinal bypass surgery for limb salvage, and social support, on quality of life in elderly patients (over 60 years old).

Methods: Sixty patients aged 60 years and above diagnosed with limb-threatening ischemia were evaluated using the SF-36 generic questionnaire for quality of life, and the MOS-SS questionnaire for social support. Thirty patients (group I) were evaluated in the hospital prior to reconstructive surgery and 30 postoperative patients (group II) were evaluated at home at least 6 months after infra-inguinal bypass operations. Both groups were comparable in terms of age, gender, prevalence of ischemic heart disease, diabetes, and other atherosclerosis risk factors.

Results: All quality of life parameters were higher among patients who underwent limb salvage surgery (group II) as compared to preoperative patients (group I), yet the obtained values were lower than those in the general population. Patients in the surgical intervention group had higher levels of function, lower pain levels, and higher emotional and social well-being and, in addition, were spared limb amputation. The findings also indicate that the social support dimensions (emotional support, receipt of information, affection and positive social interaction), as measured in terms of perceived availability, do not operate as one entity. Different types of social support were more beneficial along different stages of the disease.

Conclusion: Peripheral arterial occlusive disease causes severe impairment of the quality of life in elderly patients. Arterial reconstructive surgery improves the quality of life though it still remains low compared to the general population. Social support is beneficial in the treatment of these patients, and the social worker in the vascular surgery department has a key role in identifying the various needs of the patients along the path of their chronic illness.

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