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עמוד בית
Thu, 02.02.23

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November 2022
Adi Lichtenstein MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Doron Comaneshter MD, Arnon D. Cohen MD, Howard Amital MD

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness with associated neuropsychological symptoms such as fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. Osteoporosis is defined as a reduction of bone density. Previous studies to determine an association of FMS with osteoporosis showed mixed results, partially due to small sample sizes and lack of statistical power.

Objectives: To evaluate the association of FMS with osteoporosis.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study utilizing the database from Israel’s largest health maintenance organization. FMS patients were compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Data were analyzed using chi-square and t-tests. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed the association between osteoporosis and FMS. Spearman’s rho test was used for correlation.

Results: We utilized data from 14,296 FMS patients and 71,324 age- and sex-matched controls. Spearman's rho test showed a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis (correlation coefficient 0.55, P < 0.001). A logistic regression for osteoporosis showed an odds ratio [OR] of 1.94 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.83–2.06, P < 0.001) for FMS compared to controls and found higher body mass index to be slight protective (OR 0.926, 95%CI 0.92–0.93, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: There is a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis. Early detection of predisposing factors for osteoporosis in FMS patients and implementation of suitable treatments and prevention measures (such as dietary supplements, resistance or weight bearing exercise, and bone-mineral enhancing pharmacological therapy) may reduce both occurrence rate and severity of osteoporosis and its complications, such as fractures.

July 2022
Carla Caffarelli MD PhD, Paolo Cameli MD, Miriana D’Alessandro MD, Elena Bargagli MD, Bruno Fredian MD, and Stefano Gonnelli MD

Background: Some studies have shown that patients who are hospitalized with severe COVID-19 also have low levels of vitamin D. It is known that vitamin D can reduce the risk of infections and down regulate the immune/inflammatory reaction.

Objectives: To investigate the association between vitamin D status and lymphocyte subpopulations in hospitalized pneumonia COVID-19 patients.

Methods: In 33 positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) patients with radiologic evidence of interstitial pneumonia and in 16 healthy control subjects matched for age, sex, and seasonality lymphocyte subpopulations and vitamin D levels were evaluated.

Results: The majority of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia (70.8%) presented vitamin D deficiency. The percentages of neutrophils presented a negative correlation (r = -0.74; P < 0.001), whereas the percentages of lymphocytes presented a positive correlation (r = 0.43; P < 0.01) with 25(OH)D. Moreover, vitamin D levels were positively correlated with CD3+ (r = 0.37, P < 0.05), CD4+ (r = 0.41, P < 0.05), CD8+ (r = 0.32, P < 0.07), and CD19+ (r = 0.38, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: This preliminary study confirms the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a reduction of lymphocyte subsets and altered T-lymphocyte activation. This finding may contribute to clarify the mechanisms by which vitamin D influences the course and outcome of COVID-19 pneumonia.

April 2022
Noa Gal MD, Elena Didkovsky MD, Emmilia Hodak MD, and Batya B Davidovici MD

Background: Solid organ transplant recipients (SOTRs) are at increased risk for both skin and internal malignancies (IM). The risk of IM after the occurrence of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) has been studied in the general population but very little is known about this association in SOTRs.

Objectives: To evaluate the risk of IM following a prior diagnosis of post transplantation NMSC in SOTRs.

Methods: This single center retrospective cohort study included a study population of 329 SOTRs from Rabin Medical Center who had a post-transplant diagnosis of skin malignancy, internal malignancy, or both from 2012 to 2018.

Results: In total, 135 (41.03%) SOTRs were diagnosed with IM without a preceding diagnosis of NMSC while only 42 (12.76%) patients diagnosed with IM had a preceding diagnosis of NMSC. SOTRs with a diagnosis of NMSC showed a significantly decreased risk of developing subsequent IM (hazard ratio [HR] 0.64, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.44–0.94, P = 0.02) compared to those without a prior NMSC diagnosis. Liver and lung transplant patients showed a significantly decreased risk of developing subsequent IM after a diagnosis of NMSC (HR 0.09 and 0.43, respectively). When stratified by type of IM, only patients who were diagnosed with a hematological malignancy had a significantly lower risk of developing this malignancy if they had a prior NMSC (HR 0.26).

Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest a protective effect of NMSC on subsequent IM in the organ transplant population.

February 2022
Assaf Shelef MD MHA, Sagit Dahan RN MA, Shira Weizman MD, and Esther Bloemhof Bris MA

Background: Risk factors for severe coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) infection include old age, chronic illness, and neurological conditions. In contrast, high vitamin D levels are known to augment immune activity and to reduce the severity of viral infections. Recently, a possible association between the likelihood of COVID-19 infection, COVID-19 severity, and vitamin D blood levels was reported.

Objective: To assess the possible association between vitamin D long-term supplementation and COVID-19 symptomatic severity and complications of COVID-19 infection in elderly psychiatric inpatients, a high at-risk group.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series study. Data of 14 elderly COVID-19 positive inpatients, presenting with dementia or schizophrenia and other medical conditions were extracted from medical records. All patients maintained a 800 IU daily dose of vitamin D prior to the infection.

Results: Most of the inpatients were asymptomatic or presented very few symptoms. No need for intensive care unit intervention or deaths were reported. Cognitive functioning of the patients remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Pre-existing vitamin D supplementation may reinforce immunity and reduce COVID-19 severity in elderly psychiatric inpatients.

August 2021
Omer Or MD, Tamar Fisher Negev PharmD, Vered Hadad MD, Ran Shabtai MD, Alona Katzir MD, Yoram Wei MD, and Meir Liebergall MD

Background: Osteoporosis is a common medical condition in older ages. A devastating result of osteoporosis may be a hip fracture with up to 30% mortality rate in one year. The compliance rate of osteoporotic medication following a hip fracture is 20% in the western world.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of the fracture liaison service (FLS) model in the orthopedic department on patient compliance following hip fracture

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all patients with hip fracture who were involved with FLS. We collected data regarding kidney function, calcium levels, parathyroid hormone levels, and vitamin D levels at admission. We educated the patient and family, started vitamin D and calcium supplementation and recommended osteoporotic medical treatment. We phoned the patient 6–12 weeks following the fracture to ensure treatment initiation.

Results: From June 2018 to June 2019 we identified 166 patients with hip fracture who completed at least one year of follow-up. Over 75% of the patients had low vitamin D levels and 22% had low calcium levels at admission. Nine patients (5%) died at median of 109 days. Following our intervention, 161 patients (96%) were discharged with a specific osteoporotic treatment recommendation; 121 (73%) received medication for osteoporosis on average of < 3 months after surgery. We recommended on injectable medications; however, 51 (42%) were treated with oral biphsophonate.

Conclusions: FLS improved the compliance rate of osteoporotic medical treatment and should be a clinical routine in every medical center

November 2020
Eias Kassem MD, Sigal Eilat-Adar PhD, Mahmood Sindiani Med, and Sigal Ben-Zaken PhD

Background: Vitamin D is essential for skeletal health. Because peak bone mass accrual occurs during childhood and adolescence, vitamin D insufficiency during this period of life could cause adverse health outcomes.

Objectives: To explore the potential sex differences in anthropometric indicators and vitamin D status among primary school-age children.

Methods: A modified food-frequency intake questionnaire was completed by 116 pre-pubertal children (52 girls, 64 boys). Body measurements were recorded and blood was drawn to assess vitamin D status. All children were of Arab-Israeli origin and lived in villages or rural areas in the north-east area of Israel.

Results: Prevalence of obesity was higher among girls (34%) compared to boys (21.9%, P = 0.018). All the children were vitamin D insufficient, and 80% were deficient. Plasma vitamin D was significantly higher among boys (12.4 ng/ml) compared to girls (9.1 ng/ml, P < 0.01). A significant negative correlation was found between vitamin D status and weight percentile for girls (r = -0.43, P < 0.05) but not for boys. There was a trend toward a statistically significant inverse correlation between vitamin D status and body fat percent in the girls (r = -0.37, P = 0.07). Sex frameworks are important for the understanding of the determinants of health and the development of effective health promotion programs.

Conclusions: Pre-pubertal girls in Arab villages should be provided with tailor-made nutrition and physical activity programs for promoting health.

June 2018
J.F. de Carvalho, F.A.G. da Rocha Araújo, L.M.A. da Mota, R.B. Aires and R.P. de Araujo

Background: Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency have been reported in fibromyalgia. However, to the best of our knowledge, only one study has evaluated the role of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] supplementation on fibromyalgia symptoms.

Objectives: To analyze the effects of 3 months of 25(OH)D supplementation on symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Methods: This study included 11 female patient. Demographic and clinical data, tender points, visual analog scale results, and pre- and post-serum levels of 25(OH)D supplementation were analyzed. The levels of 25(OH)D were measured by a radioimmunologic test.

Results: Patients with fibromyalgia diagnosis and 25(OH)D values ≤ 30 ng/ml were recruited to receive 50,000 IU of oral vitamin D once every week for 3 months. The disease was diagnosed based on the American College of Rheumatology criteria. The median age of all patients was 48.5 (28–67) years and 63.4% were Caucasian. Disease duration varied from 1–10 years. The 25(OH)D levels increased significantly after 3 months, 18.4 (15.5–25.8) ng/ml vs. 33.8 (28–58) ng/ml, P = 0.01. Interestingly, an improvement of visual analog scale scores was observed at 3 months, 90 (0–100) vs. 30 (0–80), P = 0.002. Eight patients (72.2%) responded that they experienced a very significant improvement in symptoms. In addition, a trend for reduction of the number of tender points was observed after 3 months, 17 (11–18) vs. 10 (0–18), P = 0.07.

Conclusions: The 25(OH)D levels and disease symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia and vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency seem to improve with vitamin D supplementation.

August 2017
Irina Vasilyevna Belyaeva MD PhD, Leonid Pavlovitch Churilov MD PhD, Liya Robertovnа Mikhailova MS, Aleksey Vladimirovitch Nikolaev MD, Anna Andreevna Starshinova MD DSci and Piotr Kazimirovitch Yablonsky MD DSci

Background: Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis. 

Objectives: To evaluate the vitamin D-dependent mechanisms of immunity and autoimmunity in different forms of pulmonary tuberculosis and sarcoidosis.

Methods: We measured the serum levels of 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D, individual autoimmune profiles, plasma concentrations of cathelicidin, several hormones, and production of nine cytokines in patients with short- and long-duration tuberculosis and sarcoidosis.

Results: The level of 25(OH)D was significantly decreased in all patients. Concentration of 1,25(OH)2D was elevated only in sarcoidosis, prolactin content was augmented only in tuberculosis. We saw no expected increase of cathelicidin levels in tuberculosis and sarcoidosis. The individual mean immune reactivity levels of autoantibodies to 24 antigens were significantly lower in tuberculosis and sarcoidosis patients compared to healthy controls. Pronounced deviations from individual mean immune reactivity levels were found for several autoantigens in all patients. The induced production of interferon gamma-γ, interleukin (IL) 2, 17, and 8 by peripheral blood mononuclear cells was significantly increased in patients of both tuberculosis groups, but spontaneous production of tumor necrosis factor-α, IL-2, and IL-6 was lower in the tuberculosis patients than in healthy controls. We registered marked differences in the groups of tuberculosis patients. 

Conclusions: We demonstrated the role of vitamin D deficiency in poor cathelicidin response in  tuberculosis and sarcoidosis. Both diseases are accompanied by significant changes in the autoimmune profile, probably related to the status of vitamin D and cytokine regulation. 

 

Shir Azrielant and Yehuda Shoenfeld
July 2017
Giorgia Bizzaro, Antonio Antico, Antonio Fortunato and Nicola Bizzaro

Vitamin D deficiency is becoming an increasing problem worldwide. It should not be underestimated, not only due to the well-known consequences vitamin D deficiency has on bone health, but primarily because recent studies have shown how the biologically active form of vitamin D – 1,25(OH)2D – is involved in many biological processes, including immune system modulation. Moreover, the presence of a vitamin D receptor was discovered in almost all immune cells and some of its polymorphisms were found to be associated with increased incidence of autoimmune diseases. This finding led to a proposed link between vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune diseases. Patients affected by various autoimmune diseases showed low levels of vitamin D. However, it is not always clear whether vitamin D deficiency is the cause or rather a consequence of the disease. Limitations of the studies, such as the small number of patients, heterogeneity of selected groups, environmental conditions, methods used to measure vitamin D serum concentration and other confounding factors do not lead to unequivocal results to demonstrate a direct link between low vitamin D levels and autoimmune disease. Therefore, randomized trials are needed to clarify conflicting results.

June 2017
Hadar Moran-Lev MD, Dror Mandel MD, Yosef Weisman MD, Amit Ovental and Ronit Lubetzky MD

Background: Israel is a country with a sunny climate; however, vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are common findings in certain populations whose exposure to sunlight is limited. Medical residency is known for long indoor working hours, thus theoretically limiting the opportunities for sun exposure.

Objectives: To evaluate whether the vitamin D status among residents in a single medical center in Tel Aviv is below the normal range.

Methods: Forty-six residents (28 females, 18 males, average age 33.9 ± 2.8 years) in three residency programs (internal medicine, general surgery/obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics) were recruited. Demographic data, personal lifestyle, physical activity details and sun exposure duration were obtained by a questionnaire. Serum levels for 25(OH)D were analyzed by a radioimmunoassay.

Results: The mean serum 25(OH)D concentration was 29.8 ± 5.8 ng/ml. According to Institute of Medicine definitions, none of the residents were vitamin D deficient and only two residents (4%) were vitamin D insufficient (15 ng/ml each). The level of 25(OH)D was similar among the various medical specialties. The 25(OH)D levels correlated with the duration of sun exposure and the number of offspring (regression analysis: R2 = 9.2%, P < 0.04 and R2 = 8.9%, P < 0.04, respectively), but not with nutritional data, blood chemistry, or extent of physical activity. 

Conclusions: Most of the residents maintained normal or near normal 25(OH)D levels, indicating that the residency program itself did not pose a significant risk for vitamin D deficiency. 

 

April 2016
Abdulla Watad MD, Shana G. Neumann BA, Alessandra Soriano MD, Howard Amital MD and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaCR

There is growing interest in the contribution of vitamin D deficiency to autoimmunity. Several studies have shown an association between low levels of vitamin D and autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid diseases, celiac disease, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Vitamin D receptor ligands can mediate immunosuppressive effects. It has been suggested that low levels of this hormone contribute to the immune activation in lupus and other autoimmune diseases. This review updates and summarizes the literature on the association between vitamin D and SLE, and discusses the various correlations between vitamin D and SLE activity, clinical expressions, serology, and gene polymorphisms of vitamin D receptors.

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