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עמוד בית
Sun, 16.06.24

January 2004

A. Shmueli and J. Shuval

Background: Complementary and alternative medical care has gained increasing popularity in western societies in recent years.

Objectives: To provide a cross-sectional and temporal (2000 vs. 1993) analysis of the use of complementary and alternative medicine in Israel.

Methods: The subjects studied represented the Israeli Jewish urban population aged 45–75 years. Full sit-down interviews were conducted with 2,003 respondents in 1993 and 2,505 respondents in 2000.

Results: For 1993, 6% of the population reported on consultations with CAM[1] providers during the previous year. For 2000, that proportion increased to 10%. Being a woman, having higher education, enjoying better economic status, being younger, living in a big city, and being dissatisfied with specialists’ care were all positively related to the use of non-conventional medicine, particularly in 2000. In both years, more than 50% of the consultations were with acupuncturists and homeopaths. However, chiropractors have doubled their market shares, and lower back pain became the leading problem for which care was sought. The main reason for consulting CAM was a reluctance to use too many drugs or to undergo an invasive procedure. However, a significant proportion of the users continue to use conventional medicine concurrently. Seventy-five percent in 2000 and 60% in 1993 reported that the treatment helped.

Conclusions: Between 1993 and 2000, CAM in Israel changed from an infant industry into a mainstream medical commodity, reflected in both prevalence and different patterns of consumption.

[1] CAM = complementary and alternative medicine

Original Articles
B. Weiss, Y. Bujanover, B. Avidan, A. Fradkin, I. Weintraub and B. Shainberg

Background: Screening for celiac disease is based on the sequential evaluation of serologic tests and intestinal biopsy; an optimal screening protocol is still under investigation. The screening policy of one of the main healthcare providers in Israel (Maccabi) consists of measuring total immunoglobulin A and tissue transglutaminase IgA[1] antibodies and confirming positive results by endomysial antibodies. For IgA-deficient patients antigliadin IgG is measured.

Objectives: To evaluate the use of tTGA[2] as a first-level screening test in patients suspected of having celiac disease

Methods: The results of tTGA and EMA[3] tests over a 3 month period were obtained from the laboratory computer. Letters were sent to the referring physicians of patients with positive tests, requesting clinical information and small intestinal biopsy results. tTGA was performed using an anti-guinea pig tTG-IgA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit.

Results: Overall, 2,505 tTGA tests were performed: 216 (8.6%) were tTGA-positive of which 162 (75%) were EMA-negative (group 1) and 54 (25%) EMA-positive (group 2). Clinical information was obtained for 91 patients in group 1 and 32 in group 2. Small intestinal biopsy was performed in 33 (36%) and 27 patients (84%) in groups 1 and 2, respectively. Celiac disease was diagnosed in 4 biopsies (12%) in group 1 and 23 (85%) in group 2 (P < 0.0001). The positive predictive value was 45% for tTGA and 85% for EMA.

Conclusions: Symptomatic patients with positive tTGA and negative EMA have a low rate of celiac disease compared to those who are tTGA-positive and EMA-positive. Confirmation with EMA is advised when tTGA is performed as a first-level screening for suspected celiac disease.

[1] Ig = immunoglobulin

[2] tTGAa = transglutaminase IgA antibodies

[3] EMA = endomysial antibodies

N. Hod, Z Maizlin, S. Strauss and T. Horne

Background: Since the early 1970s testicular scintigraphy has been used to diagnose the cause of acute scrotal pain. The advent of Doppler sonography further enhances diagnosis by  providing simultaneous real-time scrotal imaging with superimposed testicular blood flow information.

Objectives: To assess the diagnostic value of Doppler sonography in patients with acute scrotal pain and scintigraphic findings suggestive of testicular torsion.

Methods: Seventy-five patients with acute scrotal pain underwent testicular scintigraphy and Doppler sonography. All patients who had scintigraphic findings suggestive of testicular torsion were included in the study and their files were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: Twenty-seven patients had scintigraphic findings suggestive of testicular torsion. Radionuclide scintigraphy accurately detected all cases of testicular torsion. However, abscess, hematoma, hydrocele and other conditions simulated testicular torsion on scintigraphy, lowering the test specificity. These pathologies were clarified by Doppler sonography that was 95% specific and 86% sensitive for testicular torsion.

Conclusions: Doppler sonography should be used as the first-line modality in the evaluation of patients with suspected testicular torsion. Scintigraphy should be performed only in certain settings of equivocal sonographic findings to prevent false negative sonographic diagnosis.

A. Zeidman, Z. Fradin, A. Blecher, H.S. Oster, Y. Avrahami and M. Mittelman

Background: Anemia is a known risk factor for ischemic heart disease. Based on knowledge of the physiologic role of oxygen delivery to the myocardium, anemia may be a cause of more severe cardiovascular diseases or a marker of other processes occurring in the body that induce more severe disease.

Objectives: To investigate the relationship between anemia and the clinical picture of IHD[1], including manifestations, severity and complications.

Methods: The population studied comprised 417 similarly aged patients with IHD and anemia. The patients were categorized into subgroups of IHD according to disease severity: namely, angina pectoris, acute ischemia, acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias. Two populations served as control groups: patients with anemia but no IHD (C-I) and patients with IHD without anemia (C-II). A standard anemia workup was conducted in all patients with IHD and anemia and a correlation was made between the hematologic parameters and the manifestations and complications of IHD.

Results: The common presenting symptom was chest pain in the study group and in C-II (94% and 86% respectively) and weakness (90%) in C-I. Patients with IHD and anemia tended to suffer from a more advanced degree of IHD (80%) compared to patients with IHD alone who had milder disease (46%). Hematologic values including hemoglobin, mean cell volume, serum iron and total iron binding capacity correlated inversely with disease severity among anemic patients with IHD. There were significant differences between the study group and C-II regarding CHF[2] (31% and 18% respectively) and arrhythmias (41% and 16% respectively). The mortality rate was higher in patients with IHD and anemia than in patients with IHD alone (13% and 4% respectively).

Conclusions: Anemia is a significant risk factor in IHD. It correlates with advanced IHD, CHF, rhythm disturbance and higher mortality rate. An aggressive therapeutic and preventive approach might improve the outcome of this disease.

[1] IHD = ischemic heart disease

[2] CHF = congestive heart failure

E. Eisenberg and R. Adler

Background: The World Health Organization considers a country's morphine consumption to be an important indicator of progress in pain relief. Despite the strong consensus favoring the use of opioids in many types of pain, limited data are available for gauging the trends in opioid usage in specific medical institutions, such as hospitals

Objectives: To assess the possibility that monitoring opioid consumption can shed light on directions and trends in the treatment of pain in a hospital setting.

Methods: Data on opioid consumption, number of inpatient days, and number of operations performed each year during the period 1990–1999 were obtained from records kept in the hospital’s pharmacy and archives.

Results: During that decade the overall opioid consumption in the hospital increased from the equivalent of 3.7 mg of oral morphine per inpatient day to 7.3 mg, and from 56 mg per surgical procedure to 100 mg. In 1990, injected opioids accounted for 93% of the overall consumption, whereas in 1999 they accounted for only 44%. Yet, the proportion of injected meperidine to injected morphine increased only from 43% to 51%.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the ongoing monitoring of opioid consumption can highlight trends and directions and possibly emphasize strengths and weaknesses in the treatment of pain in hospitals.

I. Belmaker, M. Alkan, A. Barnea, L. Dukhan, S. Yitzhaki and E. Gross

Background: Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease that occurs worldwide, found predominantly in agricultural workers, port workers and dairy workers.

Objective: To investigate the risk of disease transmission to dairy workers following an outbreak in 1999 of Leptospirosis hardjo in the dairy herds of two kibbutzim in southern Israel.

Methods:  A seroepidemiologic survey of all the dairy workers from these two kibbutzim was conducted, including individual interview and examination. Data were collected on the presence of clinical symptoms of leptospirosis during the previous month. One month later the medical personnel on the two kibbutzim were contacted in order to determine if any worker had subsequently developed clinical signs or symptoms of leptospirosis. All dairy workers had blood drawn for serology. Those workers whose initial serology had been borderline for leptospirosis had a repeated serology test between 2 and 4 weeks later. Doxycycline was given prophylactically to all dairy workers on one kibbutz only.

Results:  Either with or without chemoprophylaxis, no dairy workers exposed to herds infected with Leptospira hardjo showed evidence of seroconversion or disease. This indicated a low risk of transmission of this serovar from cows to dairy workers.

Conclusion: Since human illness with leptospirae can cause illness associated with significant morbidity we recommend that dairy workers exposed to an infected herd receive doxycycline prophylaxis.

E. Gilad, I. Bahar, B. Rotberg and D. Weinberger

Background: Corneal erosions, a common and very painful ailment, are traditionally treated with pressure patches and antibiotic ointment but the healing is slow.

Objectives: To report our experience with the use of therapeutic contact lenses for the primary treatment of traumatic corneal erosions.

Methods: During the last 5 years in a single community clinic 65 consecutive patients with traumatic corneal erosions were treated with a corneal contact lens and antibiotic drops as a routine measure. The charts were reviewed for outcome, side effects and complications.

Results: Healing of the corneal erosions occurred within 1 to 3 days in all patients, with minimal or no pain. No corneal infection occurred. One patient had a recurrence that was successfully treated by lens placement.

Conclusions: The therapeutic contact lens with antibiotic drops is a safe and effective method to treat traumatic corneal erosions, and patients can immediately resume their regular activities.

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.

O. Merimsky, Y. Kollender, M. Inbar, I. Meller and J. Bickels
Y. Cohen and A. Nagler

In recent years, umbilical cord blood has emerged as an alternative source of hematopoietic progenitors (CD34+) for allogeneic stem cell transplantation, mainly in patients who lack an human leukocyte antigen-matched marrow donor. Since 1998, about 2,500 patients have received UCB[1] transplants for a variety of malignant and non-malignant diseases. The vast majority of recipients were children with an average weight of 20 kg, however more than 500 UCB transplantations have already been performed in adults. The “naive” nature of UCB lymphocytes may explain the lower incidence and severity of graft versus host disease encountered in UCBT[2] compared to the allogeneic transplant setting. Furthermore, UCB is rich in primitive CD16-CD56++ natural killer cells, which possess significant proliferative and cytotoxic capacities and can be expanded using interleukin-12 or 15, so as to mount a substantial graft versus leukemia effect. The major disadvantage of UCB is the low yield of stem cells, resulting in higher graft failure rates and slower time to engraftment compared to bone marrow transplantation. A rational approach thus involves ex vivo expansion of UCB-derived hematopoietic precursors.

[1] UCB = umbilical cord blood

[2] UCBT = UCB transplantations

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