Edward G. Abinader MD FRCPI, Dawod S. Sharif MD, Leonid Kharash MD and Kira Mamedov MD
Background: The arrival of 610,000 new immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet republics accounted for 58% of the population growth in the early 1990s.
Objective: To compare the coronary angiographic findings and risk factors between the new immigrants and local Jewish and Arab patients in this era of cost containment.
Methods and Results: A total of 550 consecutive patients - 314 Jews, 95 new immigrants and 141 Arabs - were catheterized and analyzed during a 5 month period in 1995. Of this group 403 were males (73%). The mean age was 63.6±10.2 years among new immigrants, 62.4±9.4 among Jews, and 55.1±10.9 among Arabs (P<0.05). Immigrants, including those under age 60, had the highest prevalence of multivessel disease (88.7%). Arabs had a high prevalence of single vessel disease (34.6%) and a low prevalence of multivessel (65.4%) and left main coronary disease (5.6%). Age, gender, risk factors and ethnic origin in descending order were determinants of the extent of coronary angiographic disease as revealed by multiple regression analysis.
Conclusion: New immigrants had the most extensive angiographic coronary involvement, while Arab patients were younger and had less severe coronary artery disease. More intensive risk factor modification may have a major impact on disease progression particularly in the new immigrant subgroup.
Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article by Joseph Barr, MD, Matitiahu Berkovitch, MD, Hagit Matras, MA, Eran Kocer, MD, Revital Greenberg and Gideon Eshel, MD, published in IMAJ.
IMAJ 2000; 2; April; 278-281
Background: For centuries talismans and amulets have been used in many cultures for their legendary healing powers.
Methods: We asked the parents of every child (Jews and Arabs) admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit over a 2 month period to complete a questionnaire, which included demographic data on the patient and the family, the use of talismans or other folk medicine practices, and the perception of the effects of these practices on the patient’s well-being. A different questionnaire was completed by the ICU staff members on their attitude toward the use of amulets.
Results: Thirty percent of the families used amulets and talismans in the ICU, irrespective of the socioeconomic status of the family or the severity of the patient’s illness. Amulets and talismans were used significantly more by religious Jews, by families with a higher parental educational level, and where the hospitalized child was very young. The estimated frequency of amulet use by the children’s families, as perceived by the staff, was significantly higher than actual use reported by the parents. In Jewish families the actual use of amulets was found to be 30% compared to the 60% rate estimated by the medical staff; while in Moslem families the actual use was zero compared to the staff’s estimation of about 36%. Of the 19 staff members, 14 reported that the use of amulets seemed to reduce the parents' anxiety, while 2 claimed that amulet use sometimes interfered with the staff’s ability to carry out medical treatment.
Conclusions: The use of talismans in a technologically advanced western society is more frequent than may have been thought. Medical and paramedical personnel dealing with very ill patients should be aware of the emotional and psychological implications of such beliefs and practices on patients and their families.
ICU = intensive care unit
Ella Zeltzer MD, Jacques Bernheim MD, Ze’ev Korzets MB BSc,, Doron Zeeli PhD, Mauro Rathaus MD, Yoseph A. Mekori MD and Rami Hershkoviz MD
Background: Cell-mediated immunity is impaired in uremia. Cell-matrix interactions of immune cells such as CD4+T lymphocytes with extracellular matrix are an important requirement for an intact immune response. The adherence of CD4+T cells of healthy subjects (normal T cells) to ECM components is inhibited in the presence of uremic serum. Such decreased adhesive capacity is also found in T cells of dialysis patients. Various chemokines and cytokines affect the attachment of CD4+T cells to ECM.
Objective: To evaluate chemokine (MIP-1β and RANTES) and tumor necrosis factor α-induced adhesion of CD4+T cells to ECM in a uremic milieu.
Methods: We examined adhesion of normal CD4+T cells (resting and activated) to intact ECM in response to soluble or bound chemokines (MIP-1β and RANTES) and to TNF-α following incubation in uremic versus normal serum. Thereafter, we evaluated the adhesion of resting CD4+T cells from dialysis patients in a similar fashion and compared it to that obtained from a healthy control group.
Results: Addition of uremic serum diminished soluble and anchored chemokine-induced attachment of normal resting and activated CD4+T cells to ECM compared to a normal milieu (a peak response of 10–11% vs. 24–29% for soluble chemokines, P<0.001; 12–13% vs. 37–39% for bound chemokines on resting cells, P<0.01; and 18–20% vs. 45–47% for bound chemokines on activated cells, P<0.02). The same pattern of response was noted following stimulation with immobilized TNF-α (7 vs. 12% for resting cells, P<0.05; 17 vs. 51% for activated cells, P<0.01). Adherence of dialysis patients’ cells to ECM following stimulation with both bound chemokines was reduced compared to control T cells (15–17% vs. 25–32%, P<0.0000). In contrast, adherence following stimulation by TNF-α was of equal magnitude.
Conclusions: Abnormal adhesive capacity of T lymphocytes to ECM in uremia may, in part, be related to a diminished response to MIP-1β, RANTES and TNF-α. However, whereas reduced adhesion to chemokines was present in both normal CD4+T cells in a uremic environment and in dialysis patients’ T cells, TNF-α-induced adhesion was found to be inhibited only in normal cells in a uremic milieu.
ECM = extracellular matrix
TNF-α = tumor necrosis factor-a
Arnon D. Cohen MD, Yoram Cohen MD, Maximo Maislos MD and Dan Buskila PhD
Background: Previous studies have suggested that prolactin may serve as an indicator of disease progression in breast cancer.
Objectives: To evaluate the use of PRL as a serum tumor marker in patients with breast cancer.
Methods: PRL serum level was determined in 99 breast cancer patients and compared with CA 15-3 serum level.
Results: Elevated serum level of PRL (>20 ng/ml) was found in 8 of 99 patients (8.1%). A stratified analysis of prolactin levels according to therapy revealed that PRL levels was increased in 8 of 55 untreated patients (14.5%), but not in patients who received hormonal or chemotherapy in the 3 months preceding the test (0/42 patients, P=0.009). However, mean PRL level was similar in patients with no evidence of disease activity and in patients with active disease (10.2 vs. 8.2 ng/ml, NS). In comparison, CA 15-3 mean level was significantly lower in patients with no evidence of disease as compared to patients with active disease (18.2 vs. 144.7 units/ml, P<0.001). PRL level was increased in 6 of 60 patients (10%) with no evidence of disease and in 2 of 39 (5.2%) with active disease (NS). In comparison, CA 15-3 level was increased in 3 of 60 patients (5%) with no evidence of disease and in 24 of 39 (61.5%) with active disease (P<0.001).
Conclusions: PRL levels are decreased following hormonal or chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer and there is no correlation between PRL serum level and the state of disease. Further studies are needed to clarify a possible clinical significance of hyperprolactinemia in a subset of patients with breast cancer.
PRL = prolactin
chondrocyte transplantation, joint cartilage, articular surface, bioengineering, cartilage repair, dror robinson, hana ash, david aviezer, gabriel agar, nahum halperin, zvi nevo,
robinson, ash, aviezer, agar, halperin, nevo
Background: Articular cartilage is incapable of undergoing self-repair since chondrocytes lose their mitotic ability as early as the first year of life. Defects in articular cartilage, especially in weight-bearing joints, will predictably deteriorate toward osteoarthritis. No method has been found to prevent this deterioration. Drilling of the subchondral bone can lead to fibrocartilage formation and temporary repair that slowly degrades. Animal experiments indicate that introducing proliferating chondrocytes such as cultured articular chondrocytes can reliably reconstruct joint defects.
Objectives: To describe our clinical experience in culturing and transplanting autologous chondrocytes.
Methods: Biopsies were obtained from 10 patients, aged 18–45, undergoing a routine arthroscopy in which a cartilage defect was identified with indications for cartilage transplantation. The biopsies were further processed to establish chondrocyte cultures. ACT was performed in 8 of the 10 patients because of persistent symptoms for at least 2 months post-arthroscopy. All patients (6 men and 2 women) had a grade IV cartilage defect in the medial or lateral femoral condyle, and three had a defect in the trochlear region as well. Biopsies were removed from the lateral rim of the superior aspect of the femur, and cells were cultured in a clean room. Following a 2 order of magnitude expansion, cells were implanted under a periosteal flap.
Results: The eight patients implanted with autologous cells were followed for 6 months to 5 years (average 1 year). Complaints of giving-way, effusion and joint locking resolved in all patients, and pain as assessed by the visual analogue score was reduced by an average of 50%. Follow-up magnetic resonance imaging studies in all patients revealed that the defects were filled with tissue having similar signal characteristics to cartilage.
Conclusions: Chondrocyte implantation is a procedure capable of restoring normal articular cartilage in cases with isolated joint defects. Pain can be predictably reduced, while joint locking and effusion are eliminated. The effect on osteoarthritis progression in humans has not yet been elucidated.
ACT = autologous chondrocyte transplantation
Hagit Cohen PhD, Moshe Kotler MD, Mike Matar MD and Zeev Kaplan MD
Background: Spectral analysis of heart rate variability has been shown to be a reliable non-invasive test for quantitative assessment of cardiovascular autonomic regulatory responses, providing a window reflecting the interaction of sympathetic and parasympathetic tone. Alterations in autonomic function are associated with a variety of physiologic and pathophysiologic processes and may contribute substantially to morbidity and mortality. Our previous study shows that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder have significantly lower HRV compared to controls, reflecting a basal autonomic state characterized by increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic tone.
Objectives: To apply this tool to PTSD patients treated with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors in order to assess the impact of such treatment on the autonomic dysregulation characterizing these patients.
Methods: Standardized heart rate analysis was carried out in nine PTSD patients treated with SSRI agents and compared to that in a matched control group of nine healthy volunteers and in nine untreated PTSD patients, based on a 15 minute resting electrocardiogram.
Results: Our preliminary results show that the HRV parameters indicating autonomic dysregulation, which characterize PTSD patients at rest, are normalized in responding patients by use of SSRIs. Neither the clinical implications of these findings nor their physiological mechanisms are clear at present, although we presume that they reflect a central effect, since the peripheral autonomic effects of SSRIs are relatively negligible.
HRV = heart rate variability
PTSD = post-traumatic stress disorder
SSRI = selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor
Eytan Mor MD, Rachel Michowiz RN MA, Tamar Ashkenazi RN MSc Ethi Shabtai PhD, Richard Nakache MD, Ahmed Eid MD, Aaron Hoffman MD, Solly Mizrahi MD, Moshe Shabtai MD and Zaki Shapira MD1 for the Israel Transplant Center
Background: Over a 12 month period, the Israel Transplant Center doubled the number of donors by assigning a nurse coordinator to each of 22 hospitals around the country and by using kidneys from elderly donors.
Objective: To evaluate the impact of our "marginal donors" policy on the results immediately following transplantation.
Methods: Between October 1997 and September 1998, 140 cadaveric kidney transplantations from 72 donors were performed in Israel. We defined two groups of recipients: patients with immediate graft function and patients with either delayed graft function requiring >1 week of dialysis post-transplant or with primary graft non-function. We compared the following parameters between groups: donor and recipient age and gender, cause of donor’s death, length of stay in the intensive care unit, vasopressor dosage and creatinine levels before harvesting, cold ischemic time, and the number of recipient grafts.
Results: There were 102 recipients (72.8%) with immediate graft function and 38 with either PNF (n=13, 9.3%) or DGF (n=25, 17.9%). On regression analysis, donor age >50 year and retransplantation were significant risk factors for PNF or DGF (odds ratio 4.4 and 2.8, respectively). Of the 56 kidneys from donors >50 years old, 21 (37.5%) developed either PNF (n=9) or DGF (n=12).
Conclusions: We conclude that kidneys from donors over age 50 are at increased risk for graft non-function or delayed function. Better assessment of functional capacity of kidneys from “aged” donors may help to choose appropriate donors from that pool.
PNF = primary graft non-function
DGF = delayed graft function