R. Kory, A. Carney and S. Naimer
Background: Following the 2005 evacuation of Gush Katif, a community of Jewish settlements located in the greater Gaza Strip, many evacuees reported a deterioration in their health status.
Objectives: To determine if and to what degree the evacuation of Gush Katif caused a worsening in the health status of the evacuees.
Methods: In this retrospective cohort study we assessed the medical records of 2962 evacuees for changes in prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and ischemic heart disease in the period beginning 1 year before and ending 5 years after the evacuation. The findings were compared to those for the general Israeli population. A questionnaire was distributed to 64 individuals to assess lifestyle and social change.
Results: An increase in diabetes and hypertension was found in men aged 45–64. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the 45–54 male group rose from 8.7% in 2004 to 12.6% in 2007 to 18.7% in 2010; in the 55–64 age group it rose from 24.6% in 2004 to 29.9% in 2007 to 32.9% in 2010. Hypertension in 45–64 year old men rose from 27.1% in 2004 to 35.12% in 2010. The increases in diabetes were significant and higher than those in the general population. The increases in hypertension were of similar magnitude. The prevalence of heart disease did not change and is similar to that in the general population. The questionnaire sample showed an increase in depression and overweight.
Conclusions: The Gush Katif evacuation appears to be associated with increased morbidity of chronic disease. This may be attributed to any of several mechanisms, with unemployment, depression, inactivity and overweight playing significant roles. Preventive medical interventions and measures should be employed to screen and treat this population which underwent a major stressful event and as a result seem at greater risk than their peers.
A.M. Madsen, R. Pope, A. Samuels and C.Z. Margolis
Background: Due to the war in Gaza in 2009, Ben-Gurion University’s Medical School for International Health with a student body of 165 international multicultural students canceled a week of classes. Third-year students continued clerkships voluntarily and fourth-year students returned to Israel before departing for clerkship in a developing country. A debriefing session was held for the entire school.
Objectives: To assess the academic and psychological effects of political conflict on students.
Methods: We asked all students to fill out an anonymous Google electronic survey describing their experience during the war and evaluating the debriefing. A team of students and administrators reviewed the responses.
Results: Sixty-six students (40% of the school) responded (first year 26%, second year 39%, third year 24%, fourth year 8%, taking time off 3%, age 23–40 years old). Eighty-three percent were in Israel for some portion of the war and 34% attended the debriefing. Factors that influenced individuals’ decision to return/stay in the war zone were primarily of an academic and financial nature. Other factors included family pressure, information from peers and information from the administration. Many reported psychological difficulties during the war rather than physical danger, describing it as “draining” and that it was difficult to concentrate while studying. As foreigners, many felt their role was undefined. Although there is wide variation in the war’s effect on daily activities and emotional well-being during that time, the majority (73%) reported minimal residual effects.
Conclusions: This study lends insight to the way students cope during conflict and highlights academic issues during a war. Open and frequent communication and emphasis on the school as a community were most important to students.
S. Luria, G. Rivkin, M. Avitzour, M. Liebergall, Y. Mintz and R. Mosheiff
Background: Explosion injuries to the upper extremity have specific clinical characteristics that differ from injuries due to other mechanisms.
Objectives: To evaluate the upper extremity injury pattern of attacks on civilian targets, comparing bomb explosion injuries to gunshot injuries and their functional recovery using standard outcome measures.
Methods: Of 157 patients admitted to the hospital between 2000 and 2004, 72 (46%) sustained explosion injuries and 85 (54%) gunshot injuries. The trauma registry files were reviewed and the patients completed the Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand Questionnaire (DASH) and Short Form-12 (SF-12) after a minimum period of 1 year.
Results: Of the 157 patients, 72 (46%) had blast injuries and 85 (54%) had shooting injuries. The blast casualties had higher Injury Severity Scores (47% over a score of 16 vs. 22%, P = 0.02) and higher percent of patients treated in intensive care units (47% vs. 28%, P = 0.02). Although the Abbreviated Injury Scale score of the upper extremity injury was similar in the two groups, the blast casualties were found to have more bilateral and complex soft tissue injuries and were treated surgically more often. No difference was found in the SF-12 or DASH scores between the groups at follow up.
Conclusions: The casualties with upper extremity blast injuries were more severely injured and sustained more bilateral and complex soft tissue injuries to the upper extremity. However, the rating of the local injury to the isolated limb is similar, as was the subjective functional recovery.