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עמוד בית
Thu, 20.06.24

November 2000

Original Articles
Oded Szold MD, Avi A. Weinbroum MD, Ron Ben-Abraham MD, Talma E. Englender MD, Dror Ovadia MD and Patrick Sorkine MD

Background: Tumor necrosis factor is associated with various local and systemic inflammatory sequelae following snakebite. Xanthine oxidase is a principal mediator of remote tissue injury (e.g., lungs, heart, liver).

Objective: To investigate in a snakebite-like animal model the as yet unexplored role of TNF and XO in mediating organ damage following snakebite.

Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were injected intramuscularly with a non-lethal 500 g/kg dose of Vipera aspis venom (n=10) or saline (n=10). Blood pressure and heart rate were continuously monitored, TNF- was measured in the blood, and total XO + xanthine dehydrogenase activity was assessed in various tissues. Lung histology and permeability indices were analyzed.

Results: Venom injection caused a significant (P0.05) reduction in both heart rate and invasive arterial pressure. The blood circulating TNF levels were significantly higher in the intoxicated group (P0.05 vs. saline group), with changes seen at 30 minutes from intoxication in both groups. Total XO + XDH activity in the kidney, lung and liver of the venom-injected group was significantly (P0.05) higher than in the saline group, while the activity in the heart was similar.

Conclusions: The mediation of remote organ and hemodynamic changes following intramuscular injection of a non-lethal dose of Vipera aspis venom can be attributed partly to TNF and partly to XO. More research is needed to better understand the role of either compound and the time frame of their activity before specific antagonists can be introduced for snakebite management.

David Peleg MD, Aviva Peleg MSc and Eliezer Shalev MD

Background: Human chorionic gonadotropin, the pregnancy hormone, is synthesized by trophoblast cells which make up the placenta.

Objective: To determine whether antibody to hCG can be used to specifically detect living trophoblast in vitro by binding to the external membrane.

Methods: Trophoblast was isolated from fresh placentas of women undergoing termination of pregnancy in the first trimester and incubated with monoclonal antibody to hCG. Anti-mouse immunoglobulin G with a fluorescent marker was then added.

Results: Syncytiotrophoblast stained positive on the external surface of the cell, while controls of leukocytes, endometrial cells and hepatocytes were negative.

Conclusion: The hCG monoclonal antibody may be used to specifically detect hCG on the surface of living trophoblast in vitro.

Shmuel Fennig, MD, Dan Yuval, PhD, Miriam Greenstein, Stanley Rabin, PhD and Michael Weingarten, MA, BM, BCh

Background: The aim of family medicine is to provide patients with comprehensive care within the biopsychosocial model. High job satisfaction is necessary to attract physicians to this specialty

Objective: To compare job satisfaction levels between primary physicians with training in family medicine and physicians without specialty training.

Methods: A self-report questionnaire, the "Task Profiles of General Practitioners in Europe," was mailed to a stratified random sample of 664 primary care physicians in Israel. The response rate was 77.6%. Bivariate and logistic regression procedures were used to analyze the data.

Results: Physicians with training in family medicine were less satisfied with the rewards for their work than general practitioners with no formal specialization in family medicine. Satisfaction with the intrinsic aspects of the work was found to be equal. Women and rural physicians were more satisfied than men and urban physicians.

Conclusion: Measures should be taken by health maintenance organizations to increase the level of job satisfaction of specialist-certified family physicians to avoid a crisis in the profession.

Samuel Ariad, MD, Micha Barchana, MD, Aviel Yukelson, BSc and David. B Geffen MD
 Background: Exposure to asbestos is the main established cause of mesothelioma; the incidence of this tumor is thus often interpreted as an index of past exposure. Asbestos has been widely used in Israel in industry and building, exposing certain population groups to the risk of developing mesothelioma.

Objectives: To analyze the incidence of mesothelioma in Israel during the years 1960-96, and to project its trend for the following years.

Methods: We conducted a population-based study of the incidence of mesothelioma reported to the Israel Cancer Registry during 1960-96. Time trends were analyzed from data on the annual import of asbestos to Israel, which may indicate the magnitude of past exposure. Based on these findings, trends in the incidence of mesothelioma in Israel were projected for the subsequent years.

Results: A total of 327 cases of mesothelioma were reported to the Israel Cancer Registry during the study period. The incidence in Jews was higher than in Arabs (age-standardized incidence rate 2.64 vs. 1.35 per million/year, respectively). Among the Jewish population, Israeli-born males and males born in Europe and America showed the highest incidence (ASR 4.23 and 4.15 per million/year, respectively). Israeli-born males were 20 years younger than Jewish males born elsewhere. The incidence was twice as high among males than females and increased sevenfold from its nadir (1.17 per million/year) in 1978--80 to its peak (8.5 per million/year) in 1993-96. During a similar period the incidence among females increased from 0.33 to 2.56 per million/year. The incidence in both sexes does not appear to level off. The large wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union that began in 1989 only partly accounts for the increased incidence in 1993-96. The time trend in the incidence of mesothelioma in both sexes parallels the use of asbestos in Israel, which peaked in the years 1976-78.

Conclusions: The incidence of mesothelioma in Israel has increased sharply in recent years, unrelated to a wave of immigration from East Europe, and is predicted to continue to rise for another 10-15 years.

Jochanan Benbassat, MD, Ziona Haklai, MSc, Shimon Glick, MD and Nurit Friedman, MSc
 Background: In 1995 hospital costs constituted about 42% of the health expenditures in Israel. Although this proportion remained stable over the last decade, hospital discharge rates per 1,000 population increased, while hospitalization days per 1,000 population and average length of stay declined.

Objective: To gain an insight into the forces behind these changes, we compared the trends in hospital utilization in Israel with those in 21 developed countries with available data.

Materials and Methods: Our data were derived from The "Hospitals and Day Care Units, 1995" report by the Health Information and Computer Services of the Israel Ministry of Health, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Health Data, 98. We examined the numbers of acute care hospital beds, of patients on dialysis and of doctors' consultations, health expenditures and age structure of the population in 1995 or closest year with available data, as well as changes in DRs, HDs and ALOS between 1976 and 1995.

Results: In Israel the DRs increased from 130 in 1976 to 177 in 1995 (36%), HDs declined from 992 to 818 (18%), and ALOS declined from 7.60 to 4.51 days (41%). Relative to other countries, in 1995 Israel had the lowest ALOS; low HDs similar to those in the UK, Portugal, Spain, the USA and Sweden; and intermediate DRs similar to those in Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Australia. The number of acute care beds per 1,000 population was directly related to HDs (r=0.954, P=0.000) and to DRs (r=0.419, P=0.052). Health expenditures (% of the gross national product) correlated with the number of patients on dialysis per 1,000,000 population (r=0.743, P=0.000). Between 1976 and 1995, HDs and ALOS declined in most countries, however the trends in DRs varied from an increase by 119% in the UK to a decline by 29% in Canada.

Conclusions and hypotheses: The increase in DRs in Israel from 1976 to 1995 was shared by many but not all countries. This variability may be related to differences in trends in local practice norms and in available hospital beds. If the number of patients on dialysis is a valid index for use of expensive treatment modalities, the correlation of health expenditures with the number of patients on dialysis suggests that the use of expensive technology is a more important determinant of health care costs than the age of the population or hospital utilization. Since the use of expensive technology is highest during the first few days in hospital, decisions about health care policy should consider the possibility that the savings incurred by a further decline in HDs and ALOS may be offset by a possible increase in per diem hospital costs and in health care expenditures after discharge from hospital.

by Fabrizio Conti, MD, Francesca Romana Spinelli, MD, Alejandra Ossandon, MD and Guido Valesini, MD
Edward Ramadan, MD, Don Kristt, MD, Dan Alper, MD, Aliza Zeidman, MD, Tal H. Vishne, MD and Zeev Dreznik, MD
Case Communications
Clinical Images
Avishay Elis, MD, Rivka Zissin, MD, Georges Leichtman, MD and Michael Lishner, MD
Congress Points
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