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עמוד בית
Fri, 14.06.24

December 2004

Original Articles
N. Lipovetzky, H. Hod, A. Roth, Y. Kishon, S. Sclarovsky and M.S. Green

Background: Food intake has an immediate effect on the cardiovascular system. However, the effect of a large meal as an immediate trigger for the acute coronary syndrome has not been assessed.

Objectives: To assess the relative risk for an ACS[1] within a few hours after the ingestion of a heavy meal.

Methods: In a case-crossover study 209 patients were interviewed a median of 2 days after an ACS. Ingestion of a large meal in the few hours immediately before the onset of ACS was compared with the comparable few hours the day before and with the usual frequency of large meals over the past year. Large meals were assessed by a 5 level scale.

Results: The relative risk of an acute coronary event during the first hour after a heavy meal ingestion was RR[2] = 7 (95% confidence interval 0.75–65.8) when the day before the ACS served as the control data and RR = 4 (95% CI[3] 1.9–8.6) when the usual frequency of heavy meals ingestion during the previous year served as the control data. 

Conclusions: The ingestion of heavy meals can trigger the onset of an ACS. Education of the population to avoid heavy meals, especially in people at high risk for coronary heart disease, should be included in the prevention of ACS. Research on specific nutrients that may act as potential triggers for ACS should be considered.

[1] ACS = acute coronary syndrome

[2] RR = relative risk

[3] CI = confidence interval

I. Solomon, N. Maharshak, G. Chechik, L. Leibovici, A. Lubetsky, H. Halkin, D. Ezra and N. Ash

Background: Oral anticoagulation with warfarin can lead to life-threatening events as a result of either over-anticoagulation or undertreatment. One of the main contributors to an undesirable warfarin effect is the need to adjust its daily dose for a specific patient. The dose is adjusted empirically based on the experience of the clinician, a method that is often imprecise. There is currently no other well-accepted method for predicting the maintenance dose of warfarin.

Objective: To describe the application of an artificial neural network to the problem of warfarin maintenance dose prediction.

Methods: We designed a neural network that predicts the maintenance dose of warfarin. Data on 148 patients attending a large anticoagulant clinic were collected by file review. Using correlational analysis of the patients' data we selected the best input variables. The network was trained by using the back-propagation algorithm on a subset of our data and the results were validated against the rest of the data. We used a multivariate linear regression to create a comparable model.

Results: The neural network generated reasonable predictions of the maintenance dose (r = 0.823). The results of the linear regression model were similar (r = 0.800).

Conclusion: Neural networks can be applied successfully for warfarin maintenance dose prediction. The results are promising, but further investigation is needed.

O. Keren, M. Motin, A.W. Heinemann, C.M. O'Reilly, R.K. Bode, P. Sernik and H. Ring

Background: The relationship between the amount of rehabilitation therapy and functional outcome in stroke patients has not been established.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of inpatient rehabilitation for post-acute stroke, and examine the relationship between intensity of therapies and functional status at discharge.

Methods: We evaluated 50 first-stroke patients, average age 63 years, in a prospective, descriptive study. The impairment and Functional Independence Measurement were assessed both at admission to rehabilitation and at discharge. Patients were monitored weekly during their stay by means of discipline-specific measures of activity level. Predictor variables included intensity of physical, occupational and speech therapies; demographic characteristics; length of stay; and time since the stroke.

Results: A significant reduction in impairment was observed at discharge. The predictors of gains and activity level at discharge as well as motor vs. cognitive components of the FIM[1] were neither consistent nor did they occur in the same trend of functional improvement. Greater FIM motor level at discharge was associated with younger age, higher admission motor and cognitive level, and receipt of any speech therapy, while greater FIM cognitive level was associated with higher cognitive level at admission, shorter interval from onset to admission, and more intense occupational therapy. More intense OT[2] was associated with greater and more cognitive improvement during the hospitalization.   

Conclusion: Since the sample was relatively small and heterogeneous in terms of the patients’ functional abilities, the findings cannot be generalized to the whole population of stroke patients. Further efforts to identify the best timing, modalities, intensity and frequency of the various treatments are needed to improve the cost-benefit equation of rehabilitation in stroke patients.

[1] FIM = Functional Independence Measurement

[2] OT = occupational therapy

E. Magen, R. Viskoper, J. Mishal, R. Priluk, A. Berezovsky, A. Laszt, D. London and C. Yosefy

Background: Hypertension is considered resistant if blood pressure cannot be reduced to <140/90 mmHg with an appropriate triple-drug regimen, including an oral diuretic, with all agents administered at maximal dosages. This definition has evolved with the development of new therapies and evidence-based data supporting treatment to lower BP[1] goals.

Objective: To assess whether vitamin C and atorvastatin improve endothelial function and blood pressure control in subjects with resistant arterial hypertension and dyslipidemia.

Methods: Forty-eight hyperlipidemic subjects with RH[2] (office systolic BP >140 mmHg and/or office diastolic BP >90 mm/Hg notwithstanding antihypertensive treatment with three medications in maximal doses) were randomized into three groups to receive additional medication for 8 weeks. Group VTC (n = 17) – mean 24 hour SBP[3] 150.6 ± 5.2 mmHg, DBP[4] 86.1 ± 3.3 mmHg, low density lipoprotein 158.1 ± 24.5 mg/dl) – received vitamin C 500 mg per day; Group ATR (n = 15) – mean 24 hour SBP 153.1 ± 4.8 mmHg, DBP 87.1 ± 6.7 mmHg, LDL[5] 162.6 ± 13.6 mg/dl) – received atorvastatin 20 mg/day; and Group PLA (n = 16) – mean 24 hour SBP 151.1 ± 7.4 mmHg, DBP 84.8 ± 5.9 mmHg, LDL 156.7 ± 26.1 mg/dl – received a placebo. High resolution ultrasound was used to calculate brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, and 24 hour ambulatory BP monitoring was performed at study entry and after 8 weeks.

Results: In the ATR group there were significant reductions of SBP (DSBP1-2: 13.7 ± 5.6 mmHg, P < 0.001), DBP (DDBP1-2: 7.8 ± 5.7 mmHg, P < 0.01), LDL (DLDL1-2: 67.7 ± 28.3 mg/dl, P < 0.001) and improvement of brachial artery FMD[6] (DFMD2-1: 4.2 ± 2.6%). No significant changes in BP, LDL and FMD were observed in the other two groups.

Conclusions: In subjects with RH and dyslipidemia, atorvastatin 20 mg/day compared to vitamin C 500 mg/day may help to achieve better BP control and improve endothelial function in a finite period. A larger trial is needed to assess the drug's efficacy in this population for longer periods.

[1] BP = blood pressure

[2] RH = resistant arterial hypertension

[3] SBP = systolic BP

[4] DBP = diastolic BP

[5] LDL = low density lipoprotein

[6] FMD = flow-mediated dilation

Z. Iakobishvili, J. Kusniec, A. Mazur, A. Battler and B. Strasberg

Background: Device replacement or revision may constitute 25% of pacemaker procedures. In patients needing pacemaker system replacement the usual approach is from the ipsilateral side of the previous system. In cases where the contralateral side is used the previous pulse generator is removed.

Objective: To test the feasibility of implanting a new system in the contralateral side without the removal of the old system.

Methods: We present 10 patients, age range 30–88 (median 73), with clinical indication of pacemaker replacement where the contralateral side was used. In eight patients the replacement was lead-related, and in the remaining two was due to other clinical indications. In all cases the ipsilateral approach was felt to be contraindicated because of local vein and/or pocket complications. Following the new pacemaker implantation the old system was reprogrammed at the lowest rate, lowest output and highest sensitivity.

Results: All patients underwent uneventful implantation. Post-surgery monitoring and Holter recordings failed to show any interference of the old system.

Conclusions: In clinically indicated cases it is feasible to implant a new device in the contralateral side without removing the old pulse generator, thereby avoiding an additional surgical procedure and reducing periprocedural complications.

E. Segev, E. Ezra, Y. Binyamini, S. Weintroub and J. Ben-Chaim

Background: Bladder exstrophy is a severe congenital defect that requires a multidisciplinary treatment approach. Soft tissue repair may be successful during the first few days after birth but a combination of pelvic osteotomies and bladder reconstruction is necessary later in life. The combination of externally fixed anterior and posterior osteotomies has biomechanical advantages over previous techniques for achieving primary bladder closure.

Objectives: To describe our experience with a combined vertical and horizontal pelvic osteotomy approach for the repair of bladder exstrophy.

Methods: Four children underwent bladder exstrophy closure; the mean age at surgery was 19 months (range 9–33 months)... We stabilized the osteotomies with a small Synthes AO external fixator, 4.0 mm rod diameter.

Results: All four patients had successful bladder repair with no dehiscence; two of them achieved partial continence, and bladder neck reconstruction is planned for the other two. Three of the four patients sustained neurologic injury; two completely recovered, and the third continues to suffer from right drop foot. The average follow-up was 39 months (range 10–60 months).

Conclusions: Vertical and horizontal pelvic osteotomies stabilized by external fixator and bladder repair is an effective treatment for bladder exstrophy.

T. Raveh Tilleman, M.M. Tilleman and M.H.A. Neumann

Background: The physical properties of cancerous skin tissue have rarely been measured in either fresh or frozen skin specimens. Of interest are the elastic properties associated with the skin's ability to deform, i.e., to stretch and compress. Two constants – Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio – represent the basic elastic behavior pattern of any elastic material, including skin. The former relates the applied stress on a specimen to its deformation via Hooke’s law, while the latter is the ratio between the axial and lateral strains.

Objectives: To investigate the elastic properties of cancerous skin tissue. For this purpose 23 consecutive cancerous tissue specimens prepared during Mohs micrographic surgery were analyzed.

Methods: From these specimens we calculated the change in radial length (defined as the radial strain) and the change in tissue thickness (defined as axial strain).

Results: Based on the above two strains we determined a Poisson ratio of 0.43 ± 0.12 and an average Young modulus of 52 KPa.

Conclusions: Defining the elastic properties of cancerous skin may become the first step in turning elasticity into a clinical tool. Correlating these constants with the histopathologic features of a cancerous tissue can contribute an additional non-invasive, in vivo and in vitro diagnostic tool.

K.Y. Mumcuoglu, S. Magdassi, J. Miller, F. Ben-Ishai, G. Zentner, V. Helbin, F. Kahana and A. Ingber

Background: Head lice move easily from head to head. The lack of safe, effective repellents leads to reinfestation.

Objectives: To test the efficacy of a slow-release citronella formulation as a repellent against the head louse.

Methods: During 4 months in 2003 a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind clinical study was conducted in four elementary schools; 103 children were treated with the test formulation and 95 with a placebo.

Results: A significant difference was observed during the second examination 2 months later, when 12.0% of the children treated with the test repellent and 50.5% of those treated with placebo were infested with lice. A significant difference was also observed at the third examination 2 months later, when 12.4% of the children treated with the test repellent and 33.7% treated with placebo were infested. Overall, there were significant differences between those treated with the repellent and those treated with the placebo (15.4% and 55.1% respectively, P < 0.0001). Side effects were observed in 4.4% of children who disliked the odor of the formulation, and an additional 1.0% who complained of a slight itching and burning sensation.

Conclusions: Use of an effective repellent could significantly lower the incidence of reinfestations, which would lower expenditure on lice control, including pediculicides, combs and products for nit removal, and the time spent on treatment and removal of the nits.

R. Ness-Abramof, D. Nabriski and C.M. Apovian

The prevalence of obesity worldwide has risen sharply during the last four decades. The etiology of obesity is complex and includes a host of genetic influences in addition to the overconsumption of energy coupled with a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity is known to cause or exacerbate many co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, arthritis and obstructive sleep apnea. Modest weight losses of 5–10% of actual weight are related to significant improvements in co-morbid conditions, but unfortunately the rate of recidivism with short-term therapy for obesity is high. The recent recognition of obesity as a chronic disease that should be treated with long-term programs and possibly with polypharmacy, and the alarming increase in its prevalence, have prompted extensive research and the development of new pharmacotherapy.

S. Stahl, E. Bar-Meir, E. Friedman, E. Regev, A. Orenstein and E. Winkler

Melanoma is the leading cause of death from skin tumors worldwide, with an annual increase in incidence over the past decade. The molecular mechanisms involved in melanoma pathogenesis are beginning to be unraveled. While a family history of melanoma and exposure to ultraviolet irradiation have been known for years as risk factors in melanoma development, the precise genes involved in inherited predisposition were defined only in the past decade. Germline mutations in two genes that play a pivotal role in controlling cell cycle and division – CDKN2A and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) – have been detected in autosomal, dominant, high penetrance familial melanoma cases. In addition to these two highly penetrant genes, germline mutations and polymorphisms in a few low penetrance genes have been reported in familial melanoma cases: melanocortin-1 receptor, epidermal growth factor, glutathione s-transferase M1, cytochrome p450 debrisoquine hydroxylase locus (CYP2D6) and vitamin D receptor.

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