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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.07.24

April 2009

Israel Medical Association World Fellowship Conference
E. Bar-Yishay, E. Matyashchuk, H. Mussaffi, M. Mei-Zahav, D. Prais, S. Hananya, G. Steuer and H. Blau

Background: The forced oscillation technique is a non-invasive and effort-independent technique and is well suited for lung function measurement in young children. FOT[1] employs small-amplitude pressure oscillations superimposed on normal breathing. Therefore, it has the advantage over conventional lung function techniques in that it does not require patient cooperation for conducting respiratory maneuvers.

Objectives: To test the feasibility of the FOT test in preschool children and to compare the results to the commonly used spirometry before and after the administration of bronchodilator therapy.

Methods: Forty-six children (median age 4.9 years, range 1.8–18.3) attending the Pulmonary Clinic at Schneider Children's Medical Center tried to perform FOT and routine spirometry. Results were retrospectively analyzed. 

Results: Of the 46 children 40 succeeded in performing FOT and only 29 succeeded in performing simple spirometry. All but one of the 32 children aged 4 years and above (97%) could perform both tests. Nine of 14 children (64%) aged 4 and less could perform the FOT but only 3 (21%) could perform spirometry. Baseline values of respiratory resistance measured at 6 Hz (R6) negatively correlated with body length (r2 = 0.68, P < 0.005). Twenty-four children performed both tests before and after bronchodilator therapy. A significant concordance was found between the measured responses to bronchodilators by FOT and spirometry (P < 0.01). Only one child had a negative response by FOT but a positive response by spirometry.

Conclusions: The FOT is a simple, non-invasive technique that does not require subject cooperation and thus can be utilized for measuring lung function in children as young as 2 years of age. Furthermore, the FOT was shown to reliably measure response to bronchodilator therapy.

[1] FOT = forced oscillation technique

O. Sadan, N. Shemesh, Y. Cohen, E. Melamed and D. Offen

Background: Stem cell-based therapy is a promising approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease. In our laboratory, a novel protocol has been developed to induce bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells into neurotrophic factor-secreting cells. These cells produce and secrete factors such as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and GDNF (glial-derived neurotrophic factor).

Objectives: To evaluate the migratory capacity and efficacy of NTF-SC[1] in animal models of Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease.

Methods: MSCs[2] underwent two-phase medium-based induction. An efficacy study was conducted on the 6-hydroxydopamine-induced lesion, a rat model for Parkinson's disease. Cells were transplanted on the day of 6-OHDA[3] administration, and amphetamine-induced rotations were measured as a primary behavioral index. In a second experiment, migratory behavior was examined by transplanting cells a distance from a quinolinic acid-induced striatal lesion, a rat model for Huntington's disease. Migration, in vivo, was monitored using longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging scans followed by histology.

Results: NTF-SCs attenuated amphetamine-induced rotations by 45%. HPLC analysis demonstrated a marked decrease in dopamine depletion, post-cellular treatment. Moreover, histological assessments revealed that the engrafted cells migrated and acted to regenerate the damaged striatal dopaminergic nerve terminal network. In a preliminary work on an animal model for Huntington's disease, we demonstrated by high resolution MR images and correlating histology that induced cells migrated along the internal capsule towards the QA[4]-induced lesion.

Conclusions: The induced MSCs are a potential therapy for neurodegenerative diseases, due both to their NTF secretion and their ability to migrate towards the diseased tissue.

[1] NTF-SC = neurotrophic factor-secreting cells

[2] MSCs = mesenchymal stem cells

[3] 6-OHDA = 6-hydroxydopamine

[4] QA = quinolinic acid

S. Policker, W. Haddad and I. Yaniv

Background: The TANTALUS System (MetaCure Ltd.) is a minimally invasive implantable device for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The system detects food intake by sensing gastric electrical variations and applies electrical stimulation to the gut synchronized to natural gastric activity. The system is commercially available in Europe and Israel and is in clinical trials in the United States. It has been tested in 132 patients worldwide to date.

Objectives: To re-analyze previously reported data from different studies. This retrospective analysis of the type 2 diabetes subpopulation analyzed the expected benefit and characterize the significance of baseline A1c in the determination of the expected clinical outcome.

Methods: From the total cohort of 132 patients implanted with the TANTALUS device in 10 different centers in Europe and the U.S., 50 subjects (27 females, 23 males) who were obese with uncontrolled T2DM[1] on a stable regime of oral medication for 3 months prior to implant were identified. This population had similar inclusion/exclusion criteria as well as treatment protocols and were all treated for at least 24 weeks. The analysis was based on the A1c change compared to baseline.

Results: Data after 24 weeks demonstrate a reduction in A1c in 80% of the patients with average drop in A1c of 1.1 ± 0.1%. The average weight loss was 5.5 ± 0.7 kg.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the TANTALUS stimulation regime can improve glucose levels and induce moderate weight loss in obese T2DM patients.

[1] T2DM = type 2 diabetes mellitus

E.M. Horwitz and W.R. Prather

Mesenchymal stem cells, or mesenchymal stromal cells, have emerged as a major new cell technology with a diverse spectrum of potential clinical applications. MSCs[1] were originally conceived as stem/progenitor cells to rebuild diseased or damaged tissues. Over the last 14 years, since the first report of MSC infusions in patients, the cells have been shown to suppress graft vs. host disease, stimulate linear growth in a genetic disorder of bone, and foster engraftment of haplo-identical hematopoietic stem cells. In all cases, few, if any, MSCs were identified at the site of clinical activity. This experience suggests a remarkable clinical potential, but a different general mechanism of action. Systemically infused MSCs seem to exert a therapeutic effect effect through the release of cytokines that act on local, or perhaps distant, target tissues. Rather than serving as stem cells to repair tissues, they serve as cellular factories that secrete mediators to stimulate the repair of tissues or other beneficial effects. Since both the tissue source of MSCs and the ex vivo expansion system may significantly impact the cytokine expression profile, these parameters may be critically important determinants of clinical activity. Furthermore, cell processing protocols may be developed to optimize the cell product for a specific clinical indication. For example, MSC-like cells isolated from placenta and expanded in a three-dimensional bioreactor have recently been shown to increase blood flow in critical limb ischemia. Future efforts to understand the cytokine expression profile will undoubtedly expand the range of MSC clinical applications.

[1] MSCs = mesenchymal stem cells

R.D. Strous

There are isolated cases of physicians who murdered their patients. However, never had a single physician personally supervised the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of individuals, until Dr. Irmfried Eberl. Commander of the Nazi death camp Treblinka, he killed both the ill and those he considered "a disease to his nation." At age 32 Dr. Eberl established Treblinka, where he was responsible for the killing of approximately 280,000 individuals within a few weeks. The position of camp commandant was earned following his success as head of two psychiatric hospitals in Germany where he coordinated the murder of thousands of mentally ill Jews and non-Jews within the context of the euthanasia program. However, few in medicine have heard of him or the harm he caused to the ethical practice of the profession and to human rights.


Original Articles
Shlomo Cohen-Katan, B Med Sc, Nitza Newman-Heiman, MD, Orna Staretz-Chacham, MD, Zahavi Cohen, MD, Lily Neumann, PhD and Eilon Shany, MD.

Background: Despite progress in medical and surgical care the mortality rate of congenital diaphragmatic hernia remains high. Assessment of short-term outcome is important for comparison between different medical centers.

Objectives: To evaluate the short-term outcome of infants born with symptomatic CDH[1] and to correlate demographic and clinical parameters with short-term outcome.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study in which demographic, obstetric and perinatal characteristics were extracted from infants' files. For comparison of categorical variables chi-square test and Fisher's exact test were used and for continuous variables with categorical variables the Mann-Whitney test was used. Sensitivity and specificity were estimated by receiver operator curve.

Results: The study group comprised 54 infants with CDH, of whom 20 (37%) survived the neonatal period. Demographic characteristics were not associated with survival. Regarding antenatal characteristics, absence of polyhydramnion and postnatal diagnosis were correlated with better survival. Apgar scores (above 5 at 1 minute and 7 at 5 minutes), first arterial pH after delivery (above 7.135) and presence of pulmonary hypertension were significantly correlated with survival. Also, infants surviving up to 6 days were 10.71 times more likely to survive the neonatal period.

Conclusions: The survival rate of symptomatic newborns with CDH at our center was 37% for the period 1988–2006. Prenatal diagnosis, Apgar score at 5 minutes and first pH after delivery were found to be the most significant predictors of survival. Prospective work is needed to evaluate the long-term outcome of infants with CDH.

*This work was part of the MD thesis of Shlomo Cohen-Katan

[1] CDH = congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Ofir Chechik, MD and Yishai Rosenblatt, MD.

Background: Fracture of the scaphoid is the most common fracture of a carpal bone. Nevertheless, the diagnosis of SF[1] might be challenging. Plain X-rays that fail to demonstrate a fracture line while clinical findings suggest the existence of such a fracture is not uncommon. Currently there is no consensus in the literature as to how a clinically suspected SF should be diagnosed, immobilized and treated.

Objectives: To assess the current status of diagnosis and treatment of clinically suspected scaphoid fractures in Israeli emergency departments

Methods: We conducted a telephonic survey among orthopedic surgeons working in Israeli EDs[2] as to their approach to the diagnosis and treatment of occult SF.

Results: A total of 42 orthopedic surgeons in 6 hospital EDs participated in the survey. They reported performing a mean of 2.45 ± 0.85 clinical tests, with tenderness over the snuffbox area being the sign most commonly used.  A mean of 4.38 ± 0.76 X-ray views were ordered for patients with a clinically suspected SF. The most common combination included posterior-anterior, lateral, semipronated and semisupinated oblique views. All participating surgeons reported immobilizing the wrists of patients with occult fractures in a thumb spica cast based on their clinical findings. Upon discharge from the ED patients were advised to have another diagnostic examination as follows: 29 (69%) repeated X-rays series, 18 (43%) were referred to bone scintigraphy and 2 (5%) to computed tomography; none were referred to magnetic resonance imaging.

Conclusions: No consensus was found among Israeli orthopedic surgeons working in EDs regarding the right algorithm for assessment of clinically suspected SF. There is a need for better guidelines to uniformly dictate the order and set of tests to be used in the assessment of occult fractures.

[1] SF = scaphoid fracture

[2] ED = Emergency Department


A. Koren, L. Zalman, H. Palmor, R. Bril Zamir, C. Levin, A. Openheim, E. Daniel-Spiegel, S. Shalev and D. Filon

Background: Sickle cell anemia is a hemolytic anemia caused by a single mutation in position 6 of the β globin molecule. About 80 patients with SCA[1] in northern Israel are currently receiving treatment.

Objectives: To assess a screening program in northern Israel aimed at detecting couples at risk for having offspring with SCA.

Methods: Since 1987, screening for β thalassemia in pregnant women in northern Israel has been conducted, and from 1999 all the samples were also tested for hemoglobin S, Hgb C, Hgb D, Hgb O Arab and others.

Results: During the 20 year period 1987–2006 a total of 69,340 women were screened; 114 couples who carried Hgb S were detected and 187 prenatal diagnoses were performed in couples at risk for having an offspring with Hgb S. The mean gestational age was 13 ± 4 weeks. Fifty-four of those diagnoses revealed affected fetuses and in 4 cases the couple declined to perform therapeutic abortion.

Conclusions: The economic burden to the health services for treating SCA patients is about U.S.$ 7000 per year, and the institution of prevention programs has proven cost-effective in populations with a high frequency of carriers. Since our program is aimed to also detect β thalassemia, a disease that is more frequent in this area (> 2.5%), the added cost for the prevention of SCA is less significant in spite a low incidence of the S gene in our population, namely < 1%.

[1] SCA = sickle cell anemia

D. Antonelli, K. Suleiman and Y. Turgeman

Background: The incidence of cardiovascular disease increases with age, and visits by elderly patients to the outpatient cardiac clinic are becoming more frequent.

Objectives: To characterize cardiovascular pathologies of patients 70 years of age and over who visit the outpatient cardiac clinic.

Methods: We investigated cardiovascular pathologies, risk factors, and medications in new patients over a 2 month period.

Results: The study population comprised 290 patients: 139 (47.9%) were older than 70 years. Among the cardiovascular pathologies, aortic stenosis, angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, s/p coronary artery bypass graft, and stroke were more frequent in the elderly patients than in those under age 70. Among the risk factors for ischemic heart disease, only hypertension was more frequent in the elderly population, whereas fewer in this group were active smokers. The mean number of medications administered was 3.51 ± 1.63 among the elderly patients compared to 1.99 ± 1.71 among the younger ones (P = 0.0001). Beta-blockers were the most frequently used cardiovascular drugs both in the elderly (59.7%) and in the younger patients (43%) (P = 0.0046).

Conclusions: Patients over age 70 represent about half the visits in our outpatient clinic. Their multiple cardiovascular pathologies and therapeutic requirements raise the issue of developing the cardiology service to meet the special needs of geriatric patients.

S. Kivity, O.D. Ortega-Hernandez and Y. Shoenfeld
D. Dvir, A. Assali, H. Vaknin, A. Sagie, Y. Shjapira, A. Battler, E. Porat and R. Kornowski

The incidence of aortic valve stenosis is growing rapidly in the elderly. Nonetheless, many symptomatic patients are not referred for surgery usually because of high surgical risk. Unfortunately, percutaneous balloon valvuloplasty is unsatisfactory due to high recurrence rates. In 2002, Cribier and colleagues were the first to describe percutaneous aortic valve implantation, opening a new era of aortic stenosis management. In the present review we report a patient treated by this novel method, discuss and assess how it is implanated, report the findings of studies conducted to date, and suggest future directions for percutaneous treatment of aortic valve disease.

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