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עמוד בית
Tue, 23.07.24

July 2004

Y. Gidron, Y. Kaplan, A. Velt and R. Shalem

Background: A major psychological sequel of terrorist attacks is post-traumatic stress disorder. The relation between certain psychological factors specific to terrorist attacks (e.g., perceived control attributed to oneself/to the military, anticipated duration of terrorism) and PTSD[1] symptoms have not been examined.

Objective: To examine the prevalence, correlates and moderators of PTSD-like symptoms following terrorist attacks in Israel.

Methods: Soon after a long wave of terrorist attacks in Israel in 2002, a convenience sample of 149 Israelis from five cities was assessed for terrorist attack exposure, perceived control, control attributed to the government/military, anticipated duration of the terrorism wave (predictability), and frequency of listening to the news. PTSD-like symptoms were assessed with a brief self-report scale.

Results: We found that 15.4% of the sample was directly exposed to a terrorist attack and 36.5% knew someone close who had been exposed to an attack. “Clinically significant” PTSD-like symptoms were reported by 10.1% of the sample. Correlates of PTSD-like symptoms were: perceived control in men, government control, and education in women (all inversely correlated to PTSD symptoms), and news-listening frequency in women (positively correlated to PTSD symptoms). PTSD-like symptoms were attenuated by the ability to predict the duration of the terrorism wave only in citizens exposed to an attack, and by perceived government control only among citizens listening infrequently to the news.

Conclusions: This study revealed that approximately 10% of Israelis in our sample had relatively frequent PTSD-like symptoms. Correlates of PTSD-like symptoms differed between men and women, and moderator effects were found. These findings reveal additional moderators that may have implications for treating PTSD following terrorist attacks.

[1] PTSD = post-traumatic stress disorder

Original Articles
R. Ben-Yosef, N. Vigler, M. Inbar and A. Vexler

Background: Hyperthermia combined with radiation therapy was shown to be more effective in local recurrent breast cancer than radiotherapy alone, but it use is limited due to technical difficulties, stringent reimbursement policies and because it is time consuming.

Objectives: To report our experience with a simple and convenient XRT+HT[1] delivery system.

Methods: XRT was delivered through either electron or photon beams (total dose 30–40 Gy in previously irradiated fields or 50–70 Gy in non-irradiated fields). Hyperthermia was delivered by a dedicated HT device operating at 915 MHz. The heating session lasted 45 minutes. The maximal tumor surface temperature was set at 45°C and modified according to patient comfort. No intratumoral (invasive) thermometry was used. At least two HT sessions were scheduled to each HT field during the entire XRT treatment period. Tumor response was evaluated every 3 months after completion of treatment. The overall survival was measured from XRT+HT initiation until the last follow‑up.

Results: Fifteen women underwent 114 HT treatments delivered through 28 HT fields. Twenty-four HT fields (15 patients) were previously irradiated. There was complete infield response in 10 fields (6 patients), partial response in 8 fields (4 patients), no response or progressive disease in 4 fields (3 patients), and no parameters in 6 fields (5 patients). Eighteen (64%) fields had complete or partial response. Seven patients had outfield recurrence despite wide XRT+HT fields. Ulceration was the only major side effect (three patients, three fields).

Conclusions: The combined HT+XRT delivery system, with no invasive thermometry, is a simple and effective method for treating local recurrent breast cancer.

[1] XRT-HT = radiation therapy-hyperthermia

Sharabi, R. Zimlichman, R. Mansouri, J. Chun and D.S. Goldstein

Background: Splanchnic nerve stimulation evokes adrenomedullary catecholamine secretion via acetylcholine release and occupation of nicotinic cholinergic receptors on chromaffin cells.

Objectives: To assess whether among cultured adrenomedullary cells there exists a population that tonically secretes acetylcholine. If so, then blockade of enzymatic breakdown of acetylcholine by addition of a cholinesterase inhibitor to the medium would increase occupation of nicotinic receptors by endogenous acetylcholine and thereby induce catecholamine release.

Methods: Primary cultures of bovine adrenomedullary cells in 24-well plates (1 million cells per well) were incubated after 48–72 hours with fresh incubation medium (control), medium with added secretagogues (nicotine, angiotensin II, or K+) or the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, edrophonium (10-7 to 10-3 M), for 1–20 minutes. Fractional release rates of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine were compared to a control. We also examined whether co-incubation with edrophonium enhanced the effects of the secretagogues. All experiments were performed in quadruplicate and repeated three times.

Results: Nicotine, angiotensin II, and K+ each elicited time-related release of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine by up to fourfold compared to the control. At all tested concentrations, edrophonium had no such effect. Co-incubation with edrophonium also failed to augment the secretory responses to nicotine, angiotensin II, or K+.

Conclusion: Bovine adrenomedullary cells in primary culture do not include a population of tonically active cholinergic cells.

E. Leibovitz, D. Harpaz, I. Elly, A. Klepfish and D. Gavish

Background: The indication for aortic valve replacement in patients with significant aortic stenosis is symptomatology. Aortic stenosis may be associated with bleeding from colonic angiodysplasia, resulting in anemia. Persistent anemia in such patients, despite lack of an identifiable source of bleeding, is not considered an indication for valve replacement.

Objectives: To report our experience with two elderly female patients who suffered from severe asymptomatic aortic stenosis, low levels of large von Willebrand factor multimer (10% and 5% respectively) and persistent anemia requiring multiple blood transfusions.

Methods: Both patients underwent an intensive work-up, but a source of bleeding could not be identified. Aortic valve replacement was performed in both patients.

Results: Aortic valve replacement abolished the need for further blood transfusions during a follow-up period of 20 months with normalization of the vWF[1] multimer level (20% and 30% respectively).

Conclusion: We suggest that aortic valve replacement be considered in selected patients with severe, otherwise asymptomatic aortic stenosis, who suffer from persistent anemia requiring multiple blood transfusions, lack an identifiable source of bleeding and have low levels of large vWF multimers.

[1] vWF = von Willebrand factor

J. Tarabeia, Y. Amitai, M. Green, G.J. Halpern, S. Blau, A. Ifrah, N. Rotem and L. Jaber

Background: The infant mortality rate is a health status indicator.

Objectives: To analyze the differences in infant mortality rates between Jews and Arabs in Israel between 1975 and 2000.

Methods: Data were used from the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Mother, Child and Adolescent Health in the Ministry of Health.

Results: The IMR[1] in 2000 was 8.6 per 1,000 live births in the Israeli Arab population as compared to 4.0 in the Jewish population. Between 1970 and 2000 the IMR decreased by 78% among Moslems, 82% among Druze, and 88% among Christians, as compared to 79% in the Jewish population. In 2000, in the Arab population, 40% of all infant deaths were caused by congenital malformations and 29% by prematurity, compared to 23% and 53%, respectively, in the Jewish population. Between 1970 and 2000 the rate of congenital malformations declined in both the Arab and Jewish populations. In the 1970s the rate was 1.4 times higher in the Arab community than in the Jewish community, and in 2000 it was 3.7 times higher.

Conclusion: As in the Jewish population, the IMR in the Arab community has decreased over the years, although it is still much higher than that in the Jewish community. Much remains to be done to reduce the incidence of congenital malformations among Arabs, since this is the main cause of the high IMR in this population.

[1] IMR = infant mortality rate

N. Harries, M. Kassirer, T. Amichai and E. Lahat

Background: In the developing child the nervous system undergoes a maturation process. The development and organization of any motor ability is the naturally adopted preference among the possibilities and constraints. The motor behavior of children with cerebral palsy is a personal automatic preference based on such constraints. One of the clinical measures designed for measuring the function of children with CP[1] is the Gross Motor Function Measure. Motor development curves for children with CP have been established based on the GMFM[2] instrument and Gross Motor Function Classification System.

Objectives: To examine the change over time in gross motor function for children with CP attending a special education school for handicapped children in Israel.

Method: We conducted a retrospective review of the medical records of children at various ages and with varying degrees of severity who were being treated by a multidisciplinary team. The study population comprised 106 children aged 3–8 years with CP who were attending the school of special education at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. The GMFM-88 test was performed annually for the study children over a 7 year period (1995–2001).

Results: During the study period the GMFM measures scores improved significantly. The rate of improvement and top achievements over the years differed according to the severity of the motor impairment. The gross motor development reached a plateau at the age of 6–7 years.

Conclusions: The changes in gross motor development of the study population were similar to the profile of changes in the developmental process of children who develop normally. The nature of the curves of gross motor change for the children with CP should be borne in mind when designing individual treatment goals and strategies for a child.

[1] CP = cerebral palsy

[2] GMFM = Gross Motor Function Measure

E. Atar

Gadolinium-based agents are widely used in magnetic resonance imaging as contrast agents. These agents are radio-opaque enough for diagnostic imaging of the vascular tree by using digitally subtracted images as well as for imaging of the biliary system and the urinary tract. The recommended doses for gadolinium do not impair renal function or cause adverse reactions in patients with iodine sensitivity; thus patients with such conditions can safely undergo diagnostic angiography, either by MRI angiography or by catheterization using gadolinium as contrast agent, for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

E. Reinstein

The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway has a central role in selective degradation of intracellular proteins. Among the key proteins degraded by the system are those involved in the control of inflammation, cell cycle regulation and gene expression. With numerous important cellular pathways affected, derangements in the ubiquitin system were shown to result in a variety of human diseases including malignancies, neurodegenerative diseases and hereditary syndromes, and proteasome inhibition was implicated as a potential treatment for cancer and inflammatory conditions. Two proteasome inhibitors are currently under clinical evaluation for multiple myeloma and acute ischemic stroke. The ubiquitin system also has an important function in the immune and inflammatory response. It is involved in antigen processing and presentation to cytotoxic T cells, and the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B – the central transcription factor of the immune system. Since the proteasome is the central source of antigenic peptides that are presented to the immune system, some viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, developed escape mechanisms that manipulate the ubiquitin-proteasome system in order to persist in the infected host. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the production of viral antigens by the ubiquitin-proteasome system may have therapeutic applications such as future development of vaccines.

Case Communications
U. Rosenschein, U. Kaganovich, N. Machoul and S. Storch
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