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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘medical’

Israeli Treatment for Gaucher Disease Approved in Canada

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Canada has approved Elelyso, a new Israeli treatment for Type 1 Gaucher disease. The medication received kosher certification from the Orthodox Union, according to Pfizer, which distributes the drug in the United States.

Gaucher disease is an inherited disease in which the body does not store lipids correctly. This results in a buildup of the fatty substances in cells, certain organs and sometimes in the bone tissue, causing damage to organs such as the spleen, liver and brain.

Elelyso (taliglucerase alfa) is a long-term enzyme replacement therapy produced by Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc., which treats the disease in both adults and children.”

Elelyso was approved by the U.S. FDA on May 1, 2012 and received marketing authorization from the Israeli Ministry of Health on September 12, 2012. It is also approved in a number of other countries, including Brazil and Uruguay.

“With the Canadian approval of Elelyso, the drug is now approved for patients in more than ten countries across the globe,” said Protalix SVP product development Dr. Einat Brill Almon.

“This validates the ability and safety of ProCellEx, our manufacturing platform technology, which we are currently using to develop additional enzyme replacement therapies.”

In Israel, A Prosthetic Tailored for a Turtle

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The Israeli mind just cannot tolerate an unsolved medical problem, even in a turtle.

For an injured green sea turtle named “Hofesh” (the word in Hebrew means “freedom”) that nature resulted in a new lease on life.

Hofesh was snarled up in a fishing net off Israel’s Mediterranean coast early in 2009, his two left flippers completely mangled.

The nearly-dead turtle was brought to Israel’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center, where it became clear amputation was the only option.

The poor turtle was left with two stumps; attempts to fit clumsy divers’ flippers did him little good as he tried to swim.

Enter Shlomi Gez, an industrial design student at Hadassah College in Jerusalem, who read about ‘Hofesh’ one day on the Internet.

The challenge of helping the turtle intrigued him, and the tragedy bothered him – as it had the staff at the rescue center.

It didn’t work.

Gez first tried a prosthetic dorsal fin – but that didn’t work either, because it impeded the turtle’s ability to rise to the surface to breathe.

Unperturbed, the scientist tried again, this time with a dual fin prosthetic. Gez told SciTech Today it is based on the design of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-22 Raptor warplane.

The prosthetic resembles the aircraft’s wings, he said. “It worked better than one fin on the back. With two fins he keeps relatively balanced, even above the water.”

Last Thursday, ‘Hofesh’ tried out his new prosthetic and was free for the first time since being trapped in the net, swimming easily around in his tank at the Rescue Center.

Yaniv Levy, director of the Center, told the journal, “We have great plans for this guy.”

‘Hofesh’ is too badly injured to ever be able to be returned to the wild — but he shares his tank with a blind female turtle named ‘Tsurit.’ Researchers are hoping a romance will blossom, and if the two mate, they will add to the local population of the endangered green sea turtles.

Both turtles are still young – researchers estimate they are about 20 to 25 years old – and approaching the age to mate. Their offspring can be released back to the sea as soon as they hatch, although the parents will never return.

Helping Sick Israeli Children Produces Miracles and a Fund to Help More

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

A decision to help sick Israeli children in need led to miracles for Yael and Albert Shaltiel — and a special fund to help even more.

When the Shaltiels could no longer handle their struggle with infertility, they spent a long time talking about whether or not to adopt.

Former Los Angeles resident Yael actually was also born in Iran. She grew up without a father, and says she knows how difficult it can be for a single parent to juggle the dual roles of providing and caring for a family with a sick child.

Albert had his own struggles — he miraculously managed to escape from Iran via Pakistan at age of 17, but not until he first went through an  unsuccessful attempt in which he was caught by the Islamic Iranian military and dragged to Tehran.

Instead, the couple decided the “needs of the many” outweighed the desire for a few – and started to raise money for medical equipment and therapy for sick children in need.

‘What goes around, comes around,’ as the saying goes, and their good deed did not go unnoticed in the heavens above; without any further intervention, a healthy son, Ilai, was born soon after. Nine years later, a second child followed.

In gratitude, the couple, who live in Modi’in, created The Ilai Fund to help single parent families who require medical assistance for their children. Both Yael and Albert still have family members living in the United States, and in Iran. They know what it’s like to need support.

They also have close Iranian friends who have become major supporters of the Ilai Fund. Ben Nehmadi himself escaped from Iran just days before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Together with his wife Bita, Nehmadi has supported the Shaltiels in their efforts since 2005.

Founder of the New York-based Republic Investment Company, Nehmadi was struck by the similarity of his own story to that of his friend Shaltiel. He and his wife check in on the project’s activities when the family arrives in Israel for annual visits.

The Fund provides  children with items such as wheelchairs, Hart walker, bath lifts, orthopedic shoes, splints and braces, special nutrition, diapers, eyeglasses, specialized computers, finances for transportation to and from hospitals and vitamins or medication that are not included in their healthcare program.

Also provided are services such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy visits, as well as psychotherapy. In addition, the fund provides one-on-one care givers and teachers, and organizes field trip days for the children, among other activities, according to the organization’s website.

“I reconnected with Albert eight years ago and heard about his work with sick children in Israel,” Nehmadi said. “Albert and Yael are people who are doing God’s work, but quietly and humbly.”

Critically Wounded Jewish Mayor Airlifted from Ukraine to Israeli Hospital

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Unidentified gunmen who tried to murder the Jewish mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov failed in their mission – and Mayor Gennady Kernes is now in Israel, having been airlifted for advanced treatment to the Holy Land overnight.

The critically wounded mayor was shot in the back on Monday by masked gunmen in the pro-Russian separatist province of Donetsk. It is still not clear who carried out the assassination attempt, or why. A number of cities have fallen to separatist efforts to take control.

“The plane departed from the Kharkov airport at 3:20 a.m. local time,” said a spokesperson for the Kharkov city council. Valery Boiko, director of surgery at the Kharkov Institute for General and Emergency Surgery, told Chabad.org the Jewish mayor had suffered severe damage to his thoracic organs and abdominal cavity.

“All we can do now is pray,” said Rabbi Moshe Moskovitz, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and chief rabbi to Kharkov. He asked the public to pray for Moshe ben Chana, the Hebrew name of Mayor Kernes.

“He’s a good friend of the Jewish community, and has helped us in many ways,” the rabbi noted. “He’s very proud of his Jewish heritage; he received a Jewish name six years ago when he had a bris (circumcision) through us,” he told Chabad.org. “He puts on tefillin regularly, shakes lulav and esrog. We are all praying for him.”

Syria (Today) and ‘Palestine’ (Tomorrow)

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

As the Syrian “revolution” continues to unravel, there is conspicuously little talk about “Palestine.” More precisely, despite the recurrent mantra of alleged Palestinian centrality to a comprehensive Middle East peace – an avalanche of warnings to Israel that has been repeated, endlessly, as if it were some sort of religious incantation – the world now understands differently. Finally, it is plain to see, all such allegations of Palestinian state primacy had been contrived. Utterly contrived.

These allegations had always represented a very carefully engineered lie. Nothing more.

Sometimes, even in the Middle East, truth does eventually emerge intact. Now more than ever it is apparent – incontestable, in fact – that the Arab/Islamic world has long been preparing to destroy itself. Now more than ever, it is abundantly clear that Israel is not, and has never been, the problem.

Ultimately, for Israel’s myriad Arab/Islamic regional enemies, the truth is scandalous. Even if Israel had never been created, these enemies would have been kept very busy slaughtering each other. Even if Israel had never “happened,” these foes’ markedly atavistic preparations for war, terror, and genocide would have been unhidden and irrepressible. Even if Israel had never existed, their lethally crude inclinations toward one another would have managed to surface.

There are several additional ironies to the blighted history of blaming Israel, most of them dealing with Israel’s disproportionate contributions to science, technology, education, and medicine. In this connection, as thousands of Syrians are presently being torn, mangled, and burned at the bloodied hands of other Syrians, they are getting treatment, in substantially increasing numbers, at Israeli hospitals. There, Jewish doctors, entirely without any sort of compensation, are capably and compassionately healing the grievous wounds of Arabs brutalized by other Arabs. The enormous bill for such medical services is being borne, without complaint, by the overburdened Israeli taxpayer.

In Israel, rendering such pro bono medical assistance to Arabs is not unprecedented. Indeed, on many occasions Israeli doctors have ministered not only to large numbers of Palestinian civilians but also to Palestinian terrorists, sometimes even immediately after these aspiring heroes and “martyrs” had committed unspeakably barbarous attacks upon Israeli schools, buses, and restaurants. On occasion, upon learning that their lives had been saved by Jewish physicians, they energetically spat at the ministering doctors and nurses.

Accounts of such grotesque behavior are only too well known among Israeli health professionals. I have heard them myself, directly from several physician friends in Hadera, Haifa, and Jerusalem.

What are the noteworthy connections between Syria and “Palestine”? In essence, what is currently taking place in Syria closely resembles what we can ultimately expect in “Palestine.” There exists, in these two intersecting regional catastrophes (one already underway, the other aspirational and still impending), a common reflection of irremediable fragmentations in the Arab world and propensities for violence and cruelty.

In a Palestinian state – in any Palestinian state – the internecine rivalries now so starkly evident in Syria could be quickly replicated, or even exceeded, by what would be ignited between Hamas, Fatah, and assorted other splinter terror factions. Significantly, some of these Palestinian factions, especially the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) are headquartered in Syria.

As I have indicated before on these pages, once a 23rd Arab state is carved out of Israel, rocket bombardments upon Israeli cities from Gaza would be augmented by multiple, coordinated missile assaults from Lebanon. Sunni Hamas and Shiite Hizbullah would gleefully collaborate in any joint war against “The Jews.” At the same time, Fatah could fall under attack from some of its Sunni “partners” in Palestine.

This is to say nothing about what can still be expected in Iran (which regards Syria’s al-Assad as a Persian satrap) and, perhaps more urgently, from Iran.

Israel, a country half the size of Lake Michigan, one that renders massive humanitarian aid to others, even in parts of North and South America, has had absolutely nothing to do with causing persistent Middle Eastern conflict, repression, and squalor.

Even if Israel had never been formally re-established in 1948, these disabling and interactive conditions would likely still be ubiquitous and full-blown. Nonetheless, although Washington fully understands the long and scandalous history of scapegoating Israel, President Obama remains stubbornly committed to the so-called “Road Map.”

IDF Helps Palestinians Cross into Israel from Gaza

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Major Tariq is a senior commander at the Erez Crossing where he helps thousands of Palestinians cross from Gaza into Israel every month.

Major Tariq, a senior commander in the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), works in one of Israel’s most sensitive areas. Stationed at the Erez Crossing – just steps away from Gaza – he and his soldiers face the constant threat of attacks from Hamas terrorists. Since 2005, Hamas has launched 8,000 rockets from Gaza at populated areas in Israel’s southern region.

Despite the danger, Maj. Tariq works every day to help Palestinians cross into Israel from Gaza. As a result of his cooperation with the Palestinian Authority – which also works with a division of COGAT in Judea and Samaria  –  about 400 Gazans travel into Israel each day through the Erez crossing.

“The majority of requests are related to health problems,” Maj. Tariq said of civilians traveling through the crossing. Several times each day, Maj. Tariq and his staff direct the Palestinians to Israeli hospitals that can treat their conditions. IDF officials estimate that some 100 Palestinians seeking medical care travel into Israel each day.

Although Palestinians can receive medical treatment in Gaza, many turn to Israeli hospitals for more advanced care.  “It is important to note that there are 27 hospitals in Gaza. Gaza’s population has the ability to receive medical care on site,” Maj. Tariq explained, adding that Israeli hospitals can handle complex health problems that Gazan hospitals are incapable of treating.

Photo credit: IDF

Photo credit: IDF

“When a child is sick, injured and needs prompt treatment, we take all precautions and measures so that the child can pass through the crossing as quickly as possible,” Maj. Tariq said, explaining that all Gazans in urgent need of medical care receive the highest-priority treatment at the crossing. “IDF soldiers ensure that an ambulance arrives and brings the patients to a nearby Israeli hospital, where they receive necessary medical care,” Maj. Tariq added.

Many other Gazans cross into Israel to visit relatives living in Judea and Samaria. Each month, IDF officials help more than 3,000 Palestinians pass through the crossing to visit their families. This month, as Palestinian Muslims observe the holiday of Ramadan, higher numbers of travelers are visiting Israel to celebrate the holiday with family members.

Palestinians cross into Israel for Ramadan. Photo credit: IDF

Palestinians cross into Israel for Ramadan. Photo credit: IDF


Speaking Their Language

Maj. Tariq, who comes from a Druze community in Israel’s north, grew up speaking Arabic like many other members of his unit. His fluency allows for a direct line of communication between the IDF and Palestinian travelers. According to Maj. Tariq, he often speaks directly with Gaza residents to understand their needs on an individual level.

Maj. Tariq is responsible for facilitating all passages through the Erez Crossing. Photo credit: IDF

Maj. Tariq is responsible for facilitating all passages through the Erez Crossing. Photo credit: IDF

Native speakers of Arabic like Maj. Tariq are not the only soldiers who can speak with the travelers in their native language. The unit requires all of its members – from new recruits to commanders – to complete a course in Arabic. This policy ensures that all of the unit’s soldiers are prepared to communicate with Gazans directly to discuss their specific requests.
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