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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.07.24

July 2007

Original Articles
T.Naftali, D.Novick, G.Gabay, M.Rubinstein, and B.Novis

Background: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases with an unknown etiology. Interleukin-18 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that is up-regulated in Crohn’s disease. IL-18[1] binding protein neutralizes IL-18. The relationship of IL-18 and IL-18BP[2] and disease activity in these diseases is not fully understood.

Objectives: To investigate the correlation of IL-18 and IL-18BP with disease activity and other disease parameters in inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods: IL-18 and IL-18BP isoform α were measured in 129 patients and 10 healthy individuals. Patients' mean age was 40.5 (range 15–70 years) and 43 were women; 58 Crohn's and 28 colitis patients were in remission and 52 and 14, respectively, were in exacerbation. Twenty-three (19 and 4 respectively) were studied in both remission and exacerbation.

Results: The mean level of free IL-18 was significantly different between healthy individuals and Crohn's patients, and between Crohn's patients during exacerbation and remission (167 ± 32 vs. 471 ± 88 and 325 ± 24 pg/ml, respectively, P < 0.05). Mean level of IL-18BP was significantly different between healthy individuals and Crohn patients, and between Crohn patients during exacerbation and remission (2.1 ± 1.1, 7.5 ± 4 and 5.23 ± 2.8 ng/ml, respectively, P < 0.01). In the colitis patients, mean free IL-18 level and IL-18BP were significantly different between healthy individuals and patients, but not between disease remission and exacerbation (167 ± 32, 492 ± 247 and 451± 69 pg/ml for IL-18, and 2.1 ± 1.1, 7.69 ± 4 and 6.8 ± 7 ng/ml for IL-18BP, respectively, P = 0.05).

Conclusions: IL-18 and IL-18BP levels are higher in patients with inflammatory bowel disease compared to healthy individuals. In Crohn's disease, but not in ulcerative colitis, IL-18 (but not free IL-18) and IL-18BP levels are significantly higher during exacerbation compared to remission. This observation highlights the importance of IL-18 in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases, especially in Crohn's disease.

[1] IL = interleukin

[2] IL-18BP = IL-18 binding protein

O.Tavor, M.Shohat and S.Lipitz

Background: The measurement of maternal serum human chorionic gonadotropin as a predictor of fetuses with Down syndrome has been in use since 1987.

Objectives: To determine the correlation between extremely high levels of hCG[1] at mid-gestation and maternal and fetal complications.

Methods: The study group consisted of 75 pregnant women with isolated high levels of hCG (> 4 MOM) at mid-gestation, and the control group comprised 75 randomly selected women with normal hCG levels (as well as normal alpha-fetoprotein and unconjugated estriol levels). The data collected included demographic details, fetal anomalies, chromosomal aberrations, pregnancy complications, and results of neonatal tests.

Results: There was a significant increase in the frequency of fetal anomalies (detected by ultrasound), low birth weight and neonatal complications in the study group. We also found an increased rate of fetal/neonatal loss proportional to the increasing levels of hCG (up to 30% in levels exceeding 7 MOM).

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated an increased frequency of obstetric complications that was closely associated with raised hCG levels. The study also raises questions about the accuracy of the Down syndrome probability equation in the presence of extremely high levels of hCG where data on the frequency of Down syndrome is severely limited.

[1] hCG = human chorionic gonadotropin

D.Lotan, G.Yoskovitz, L.Bisceglia, L.Gerad, H.Reznik-Wolf and E.Pras

Background: Cystinuria is an autosomal recessive disease that is manifested by kidney stones   and is caused by mutations in two genes: SLC3A1 on chromosome 2p and SLC7A9 on chromosome 19q. Urinary cystine levels in obligate carriers are often, but not always, helpful in identifying the causative gene.

Objectives: To characterize the clinical features and analyze the genetic basis of cystinuria in an inbred Moslem Arab Israeli family.

Methods: Family members were evaluated for urinary cystine and amino acid levels. DNA was initially analyzed with polymorphic markers close to the two genes and SLC7A9 was fully sequenced.

Results: Full segregation was found with the marker close to SLC7A9. Sequencing of this gene revealed a missense mutation, P482L, in the homozygous state in all three affected sibs.

Conclusions: A combination of urinary cystine levels in obligate carriers, segregation analysis with polymorphic markers, and sequencing can save time and resources in the search for cystinuria mutations.

S.Atar, K.Tolstrup, B.Cercek, and R.J. Siegel.

Background: Chlamydia pneumoniae has previously been associated with higher prevalence of valvular and cardiac calcifications.

Objectives: To investigate a possible association of seropositivity for C. pneumoniae and the presence of cardiac calcifications (mitral annular or aortic root calcification, and aortic valve sclerosis).

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed serological data (immunoglobulin G TWAR antibodies) from the AZACS trial (Azithromycin in Acute Coronary Syndromes), and correlated the serological findings according to titer levels with the presence of cardiac calcifications as detected by transthoracic echocardiography.

Results: In 271 patients, age 69 ± 13 years, who underwent both serological and echocardiographic evaluation, we found no significant association between the "calcification sum score" (on a scale of 0–3) in seropositive compared to seronegative patients (1.56 ± 1.15 vs.1.35 ± 1.15, respectively, P = 0.26). The median "calcification sum score" was 1 (interquartile range 0–3) for the seronegative group, and 2 (interquartile range 0–3) for the seropositive group (P = 0.2757). In addition, we did not find a significant correlation of any of the individual sites of cardiac calcification and Chlamydia pneumoniae seropositivity.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that past C. pneumoniae infection may not be associated with the pathogenesis of valvular and cardiac calcifications.

N.Bilenko, M.Yehiel, Y.Inbar, and E.Gazala

Background: Iron deficiency is the most prevalent anemia in infants and is known to be a major public health problem.

Objective: To examine mothers’ knowledge and adherence with recommendations regarding iron supplementation and assess their association with the prevalence of anemia in infants.

Methods: Data on 101 infants and mothers of infants born between November 2000 and February 2001, living in a small Jewish town in southern Israel, were collected using a structured questionnaire and the infants’ medical charts. Anemia was defined as serum hemoglobin less than 11 g/dl. Independent variables include socioeconomic data, mothers' knowledge, and adherence to treatment as reported by them. Chi-square test was used to analyze categorical variables, t-test was used for continuous variables, and hemoglobin was tested at 9–12 months of age.

Results: Of the 101 infants in the study, 47% had serum hemoglobin under 11 g/dl. Of the mothers, 62 (62%) were partially or completely non-compliant with iron supplementation; 34 (34%) had low level of knowledge regarding anemia. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed a significant and inverse relationship between the presence of anemia and the level of maternal knowledge (odds ratio = 5.6, 95% confidence interval 1.6–9.7; P = 0.006) and reported adherence with iron supplementation (3.2, 1.1–9.7; P = 0.04) after controlling for confounding factors: maternal education, socioeconomic status, breastfeeding, and meat consumption.

Conclusions: The presence of iron deficiency anemia in infants in southern Israel is inversely affected by the level of maternal knowledge of anemia and adherence to iron supplementation. Low level of knowledge is also directly related to low adherence.

O.Kalter-Leibovici, A.Atamna, F.Lubin, G.Alpert, M.Gillon Keren, H.Murad A.Chetrit, D.Goffer, S.Eilat-Adar, and U.Goldbourt

Background: Arabs in Israel have high morbidity and mortality from diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Obesity is a risk factor for both conditions.

Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of obesity (body mass index > 30 kg/m2), subjects' knowledge and behaviors, and their reports on practices of health-care professionals regarding body weight among Arabs and Jews.

Methods: The study participants (n=880) were randomly sampled from the urban population of the Hadera district in Israel. Data on demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics; reports on height, current body weight and body weight at the age of 18 years; knowledge and behavior; and health-care professionals' practices with regard to body weight were obtained by interview. Anthropometric measurements were performed subsequently.

Results: Information on BMI[1] was available on 868 participants (49% Arabs, 49% women, median age 46 years). Although the median BMI did not differ significantly between Arabs and Jews at age 18, the prevalence of current obesity was 52% in Arab women compared to 31% in Jewish women (P < 0.001), and 25% in Arab men compared to 23% in Jewish men (P = 0.6). On multivariate analysis, obesity was significantly associated with age, BMI at the age of 18 years, leisure time physical activity and cigarette smoking, but not with ethnicity. Fewer Arabs reported measuring their body weight and Arab women were less frequently advised to maintain an active lifestyle.

Conclusions: The high prevalence of obesity among Arab women may be explained by lifestyle characteristics. Prevention of obesity in Arabs should be directed at women and should start preferably before adulthood.

[1] BMI = body mass index

R.Gofin and M.Avitzour

Background: Head injuries, especially in young children, are frequent and may cause long-lasting impairments.

Objectives: To investigate the outcome of head and other injuries caused by diverse mechanisms and of varied severity.

Methods: The population consisted of Jews and Arabs (n=792), aged 0–17 years old, hospitalized for injuries in six hospitals in Israel. Caregivers were interviewed during hospitalization regarding circumstances of the injury and sociodemographic variables. Information on injury mechanism, profile and severity, and length of hospitalization was gathered from the medical files. Five months post-injury the caregivers were interviewed by phone regarding physical limitations and stress symptoms.

 Results: Head injuries occurred in 60% of the children, and of these, 22.2% suffered traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness (type 1). Among the rest, 22% of Jewish children and 28% of Arab children remained with at least one activity limitation, and no statistically significant differences were found among those with head or other injuries. The odds ratio for at least two stress symptoms was higher for children involved in transport-related injuries (OR[1] 2.70, 95% confidence interval 1.38–5.28) than for other mechanisms, controlling for injury profile. No association was found between stress symptoms and injury severity.

Conclusions: Most children had recovered by 5 months after the injury. Residual activity limitations were no different between those with head or with other injuries. Stress symptoms were related to transport-related injuries, but not to the presence of TBI[2] or injury severity.

[1] OR = odds ratio

[2] TBI = traumatic brain injury

Z.Shimoni, Z.Klein, P.Weiner, M.Victor Assous, and P.Froom

Background: It is not entirely clear when and how steroids should be used to treat trichinellosis.

Objectives: To describe the course of consecutive patients with trichinellosis treated with antihelminthic drugs with and without the addition of prednisone.

Methods: We extracted data from the hospital records of 30 patients hospitalized for trichinellosis contracted after eating poorly cooked pork that came from two pigs killed in the Golan Heights, and contacted them for follow-up 5–6 weeks and 6 months after hospital discharge.

Results: All the patients who attended a party and ingested the infected pork (100% attack rate) were hospitalized after 2–16 days (median 9 days); 29 were symptomatic and 1 patient without symptoms had creatine phosphokinase levels 17.9 times above the upper limit of normal. Twelve of 23 patients (52%) treated with antihelminthic drugs without prednisone were rehospitalized with worsening fever, increased peripheral blood eosinophil counts, but decreasing CPK[1] values. These patients and another seven at the time of admission were treated with prednisone 40 mg/day for 5 days in addition to antihelminthic drugs for at least 14 days. All became asymptomatic within 24 hours and were asymptomatic 6 weeks and 6 months later.

Conclusions: Worsening symptoms in patients treated with antihelminthic drugs alone is common. A short course of prednisone is safe and alleviates symptoms due to tissue larvae in patients with trichinellosis.


[1] CPK = creatine phosphokinase

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