• IMA sites
  • IMAJ services
  • IMA journals
  • Follow us
  • Alternate Text Alternate Text
עמוד בית
Fri, 19.07.24

October 2012

T. Friedman, D.J. Lurie and A. Shalom

The Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) left behind the largest collection of self-portraits in the history of art. Although about 40 of his oil paintings could be considered “self-portraits,” controversy still exists regarding 14 of them. We undertook to determine the identity of the painter or the subject. Our work was based on the generally accepted premise that these portraits represent a “realistic” rendering of the subject. Self-portraits on which there is consensus regarding the authenticity were chosen as the basis for our measurements. Using a computerized technique we measured the brow ptosis. We also subjectively analyzed Rembrandt's facial aging and the unique asymmetrical elements in his face. We could not add any useful information on 6 of the 14 portraits and suggest that 8 should be considered authentic. Facial aging analysis and the unique surface anatomy allowed us to confirm Rembrandt as the painter in four of six self-portraits. We confirmed Rembrandt as the subject and painter in three more paintings. Of the two paintings in which the subject’s identity was controversial, we determined Rembrandt as the subject in one. We were able to date Rembrandt’s age in two other works and considered another portrait to be a copy. Our methodology may serve as an additional tool for the authentication of self-portraits.

J. Levin

Background: Despite decades of research on religious determinants of health, this subject has not been systematically investigated within Jewish populations, in Israel or the diaspora. The present paper is part of a series of studies using large-scale population data sources to map the impact of religiousness on the physical and mental health of Jews.

Objectives: To identify religious predictors of physical health in a national probability sample of older Israeli Jews.

Methods: The data derive from the Israeli sample of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), a cross-national survey program involving nearly a dozen nations. The Israeli sample comprises 1287 Jewish respondents aged 50 or over. Outcome measures include single-item assessments of self-rated health, long-term health problems and activity limitation, as well as validated measures of diagnosed chronic diseases, physical symptoms, and activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental ADL (IADL).

Results: Recent synagogue attendance is a significant predictor of better health for six of the seven health measures, even after adjusting for age and several other covariates and mediators, including measures of health-related behavior and social support. Prayer, by contrast, is inversely associated with health according to five measures, perhaps reflecting its use as a coping mechanism for individuals with health problems.

Conclusions: This study presents modest evidence of a salutary effect of Jewish religiousness on this population of older adults. Religiousness, in the form of synagogue participation, was seen to serve a protective function, and prayer a coping function.

G. Goodman, M. Eric Gershwin and D. Bercovich

The role of carbon in the development of life and as the structural backbone of all organisms is universally accepted and an essential part of evolution. However, the molecular basis is largely unknown and the interactions of carbon with nitrogen and oxygen in space are enigmatic. In 1985, the previously unknown form of carbon, coined fullerene, was discovered. We hypothesize that by virtue of the unique properties of fullerene, this hollow, ultra-robust, large, purely carbon molecule was the earliest progenitor of life. It acted as a stable universal biologic template on which small molecules spontaneously assembled and then formed, by further assembly, a surface mantle (here termed rosasome) of larger molecules. We submit that this process, by its inherent flexibility, initiated evolution, allowing the emergence of parallel diverse rosasome lines responding selectively to varying spatial environments. For example, rosasomal lines mantled with nucleotide and peptide layers are conceived as primordial forerunners of the ubiquitous ribosome. Moreover, the parallel independent and interdependent evolution of rosasome lines would be more rapid than sequential development, refute precedence of either DNA or RNA, and explain the evolution of integration of two subunits with different structures and functions in ribosomes and of the triplet nature of the codon. Based on recent astronomical data, this hypothesis supports the concept that life is not a singularity. This concept also suggests a potential vehicle for therapeutics, biotechnology and genetic engineering.


Original Articles
E. Segal, S. Felder , N. Haim, H. Yoffe-Sheinman, A. Peer, M. Wollner, Z. Shen-Or and S. Ish-Shalom

 Background: Vitamin D status is not evaluated routinely in cancer patients with bone metastasis who are treated with bisphosphonates.

Objectives: To assess the effect of vitamin D status on risk of hypocalcemia and quality of life in these patients.

Methods: We performed laboratory tests for routine serum biochemistry, 25(OH)D, plasma parathyroid hormone (PTH) and bone turnover markers (CTX, P1NP) in 54 patients aged 57.5 ± 13 years treated with intravenous bisphosphonates.

Results: Most of the patients (n=44, 77.8%) did not receive calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Their mean serum 25(OH)D levels (12.83 ± 6.86 ng/ml) correlated with vitamin D daily intake (P = 0.002). In 53 patients (98.1%) 25(OH)D levels were suboptimal (< 30 ng/ml). Albumin-corrected calcium levels correlated with plasma PTH (P = 0.001). No correlation was observed between daily calcium intake and serum calcium (P = 0.45). Hypocalcemia was observed in one patient. Mean plasma PTH was 88.5 ± 65 ng/L. Plasma PTH correlated negatively with 25(OH)D serum levels (P = 0.003) and positively with P1NP (P = 0.004). Albumin-corrected calcium correlated negatively with P1NP (mean 126.9 ± 191 ng/ml) but not with CTX levels (mean 0.265 ± 0.1 ng/ml) (P < 0.001). There was no correlation among quality of life parameters, yearly sun exposure and 25(OH)D levels (P = 0.99).

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is frequent in oncology patients with bone metastasis treated with bisphosphonates and might increase bone damage. Our results indicate a minor risk for the development of severe hypocalcemia in vitamin D-deficient patients receiving bisphosphonate therapy. Although vitamin D deficiency might have some effect on the quality of life in these patients, it was not proven significant.

R. Karplus, M. Weinberger, R. Zaidenstein, L. Goldshtein, N. Natif and G. Gayer

Background: During an influenza pandemic, clinicians need easily available clinical and laboratory criteria to distinguish influenza from similar respiratory illnesses. We compared A/H1N1/2009-polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive and matched PCR-negative hospitalized patients with suspected H1N1 influenza to identify factors that could assist physicians at patient admission.

Objectives: To identify factors significantly associated with A/H1N1/2009 infection.

Methods: A group of 145 patients with PCR-confirmed A/H1N1 2009 influenza admitted between 27 May 2009 and 3 December 2009 was matched with 145 PCR-negative patients by age, epidemiological week and pregnancy status. Epidemiological and clinical parameters and radiological findings on initial chest X-ray were compared between the two groups.

Results: Asthma (PCR+ 26%, PCR- 12%, P = 0.006) and military service (PCR+ 13%, PCR- 4%, P = 0.15) were associated with PCR-positive status in non-pregnant patients. At presentation, fever, cough, myalgia and fulfilling the pandemic influenza case definition were significantly more frequent in non-pregnant PCR+ patients (62/90/43/59% in PCR+ versus 38/69/30/35% in PCR-). In pregnant patients, fever and fulfilling the case definition were significantly associated with PCR-positive status. Mean leukocyte and absolute lymphocyte counts were significantly lower in both pregnant and non-pregnant PCR-positive patients. Significantly more PCR-negative non-pregnant patients (43% vs. 22% PCR+, P = 0.004) had abnormal chest X-ray (CXR) findings on presentation. In PCR-positive patients, patchy consolidation and interstitial infiltrates were the most common abnormalities.

Conclusions: Under the conditions generated by the A/H1N1/2009 pandemic, radiological findings did not distinguish reliably between influenza and other febrile respiratory illnesses. Asthma, military service, the pandemic case definition (particularly fever, cough and myalgia) and lymphopenia were associated with confirmed H1N1 infection.

A. Wasserman, J. Ben-Shoshan, M. Entin-Meer, S. Maysel-Auslender, H. Guzner-Gur and G. Keren

Background: Atherosclerosis is a well-established inflammatory disease in which T helper 1 (Th1) cells play a key role. Regulatory T (Treg) cells drive a shift from Th1 to Th2 response and were shown to be reduced in atherosclerosis. ST2/interleukin (IL)-33 signal was found to promote Th2 response, attenuating atherosclerotic plaque progression.

Objectives: To evaluated the effect of IL-33 on Treg cell number.

Methods: We employed flow cytometry to determine Treg cell number, as well as ST2 levels, among splenocytes of C57BL/6J vs ApoE-/- mice. Soluble ST2 (sST2) levels were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. 

Results: IL-33 contributed to an increase in Treg cells, but this association was attenuated in ApoE knockout (ApoE-/-) atherosclerotic mice. As a possible mechanism we demonstrated a reduction in the levels of CD4+ST2+ cells by flow cytometry, which is cotemporary to the previously described decrease in Treg cells in ApoE-/- mice. Additionally, the serum level of the soluble ST2 (sST2) decoy receptor was higher in ApoE-/- mice than in control animals.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that a repressed ST2/IL-33 signaling may contribute to the decrease in Treg cells observed in atherosclerosis.

D. Elstein, G.M. Doniger and G. Altarescu

Background: Recently, cognitive assessments of patients with Fabry disease highlighted neurocognitive impairment using test batteries that are time and labor intensive.

Objectives: To introduce a user-friendly self-administered tool for cognitive testing in patients with Fabry disease.

Methods: We used a computerized system requiring about 1 hour for patient follow-up. All patients with enzymatic and/or molecular diagnosis of Fabry disease seen in our clinic underwent assessment with the Fabry-specific Mainz Severity Score Index (MSSI) with subscores (neurological, renal, cardiac, and general) and a Mindstreams neurocognitive battery for mild impairment, evaluating memory, executive function, attention, information processing, visual spatial processing, verbal function, and motor skills. A Global Cognitive Score (GCS) was also computed.

Results: Ten patients (3 males, 7 females) were tested (mean age 41.5, range 25–56 years). Males were younger, had moderate nephropathy and no cerebrovascular accident (CVA); their Mindstreams GCS was 85.6–107 points. Three females had mild-moderate (8,10,15 points) neurological MSSI subscores (two CVA); all females had Mindstreams GCS of 59–107.7 points. Below-average performance was prevalent, particularly in information processing and motor skills consistent with mild impairment. Average GCS in females (90.3 points) was lower than in males (98.2 points). For individual patients, performance was poorest in information processing (n=4), attention (n=2), motor skills (n=2), verbal function (n=1), and visual spatial processing (n=1).

Conclusions: MindStreams may simplify cognitive assessment monitoring in Fabry disease.

Y. Turgeman, A. Feldman, K. Suleiman, L.I. Bushari, I. Lavi and L. Bloch

Background: Understanding the mechanism and the main components involved in rheumatic mitral regurgitation (MR) associated with dominant pliable mitral stenosis (MS) may improve our ability to repair some mixed rheumatic mitral valve pathologies.

Objectives: To assess mitral valve structural components in pure mitral stenosis versus mitral stenosis associated with mild regurgitation

Methods: Using two-dimensional echocardiography, we performed mitral valve structural analysis in two groups of patients prior to balloon mitral valvuloplasty (BMV). The first group, consisting of 13 females and 2 males (mean age 39 ± 5 years), suffered from pure pliable mitral stenosis (PPMS), while the second group, with 22 females and 2 males (mean age 44 ± 5 years), had mixed mitral valve disease (MMVD) characterized by mild MR in the presence of dominant pliable MS. All echocardiographic measurements relating to the mechanism of MR were undertaken during the systolic phase.

Results: The mean Wilkins scores of the PPMS and MMVD groups were 7 ± 1 and 8 ± 1 respectively (P = 0.004). No significant differences were found between the MMVD group and the PPMS group regarding annular circumference (15.5 ± 1.4 cm vs. 15.4 ± 1.6 cm, P = 0.84), annular diameter (36 ± 4 mm vs. 38 ± 5 mm, P = 0.18), and chordae tendinae length directed to the anterior mitral leaflet (AML) (10 ± 2 mm vs. 11 ± 2 mm, P = 0.137). However, anterior vs. posterior mitral leaflet length during systole was significantly lower in the MMVD than in the PPMS group (2.2 ± 0.5 vs. 2.8 ± 0.4, P = 0.02), whereas the AML thickness at the co-aptation point was greater in the MMVD than in the PPMS group (7 ± 1 vs. 5 ± 1 mm, P = 0.0004).

Conclusions: In rheumatic valves, thickening and shortening of the AML are the main factors determining the appearance of mild MR in the presence of dominant pliable MS.

E. Dagan, M. Wolf and L. Migirov

Background: With an aging population, healthcare of the elderly population is becoming increasingly important, however, the principles of geriatric medicine and issues of concern specific to geriatric otolaryngologic patients have not been widely applied.

Objectives: To qualitatively analyze otolaryngological (ENT) emergencies in a geriatric population in an ENT emergency department (ED).

Methods: In this retrospective study the medical records of patients ≥ 65 years of age who attended our ENT-ED between 3 pm and 8 am and who were observed and/or treated by the on-call otorhinolaryngologist at Sheba Medical Center in 2009 were reviewed for age, gender, main complaint, and preliminary diagnosis. Allergic reactions, balance disorders, epistaxis, head/facial trauma and swallowing-related complaints were considered true emergencies.

Results: The staff in the ENT-ED examined and treated 1–10 geriatric patients daily (mean 2.35). A total of 597 subjects met the study entry criteria (median age 75 years); 16.6% were ≥ 85 years old. There was approximately equal gender representation. More elderly patients presented to the ENT-ED on the weekends (37.9% of the total) compared to weekdays (62.1%). There were 393 patients (65.8%) with true emergencies, of which epistaxis, balance disorders and head and facial trauma were the most common diagnoses (20.1%, 15.75% and 13.7%, respectively), while 46.5% of all vestibulopathy cases involved benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.

Conclusions: More than 65% of visits of the elderly presenting to ENT-ED involve true emergencies. This growing population may benefit from the presence of geriatric specialists in emergency departments.

Z. Sthoeger, I. Asher, S. Rosenberg-Bezalel and K. Mahlab-Guri
Case Communications
A.R. Zeina, S.R. Meisel, S. Abu-Mouch, J. Ashkar, R. Alfici and A. Mahamid
Legal Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or medical advice on any matter.
The IMA is not responsible for and expressly disclaims liability for damages of any kind arising from the use of or reliance on information contained within the site.
© All rights to information on this site are reserved and are the property of the Israeli Medical Association. Privacy policy

2 Twin Towers, 35 Jabotinsky, POB 4292, Ramat Gan 5251108 Israel