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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘medicine’

Teva Wins FDA Approval for Leukemia Drug

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceuticals full approval for Synribo, a drug that is injected for adults with a with chronic phase or accelerated phase of myeloid leukemia.

Chronic myeloid leukemia, also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia, is one of four main types of leukemia and is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

The FDA had given initial approval for the drug in October 2012 but said Teva had to provide additional clinical trial data before it could bring the drug to market.

“With this approval, based on the final analysis of two Phase II trials that evaluated efficacy and tolerability data of Synribo, we believe healthcare providers can be even more confident in the clinical profile of this important medicine, said Teva president and CEO global specialty medicines Rob Koremans.

No More Lies, Sec. Kerry, There Is No ‘Existential Threat to Israel’

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Is Secretary of State, John Kerry correct, or incorrect, when exhorting “the demographic time bomb” to scare Israel into a retreat from geography (Judea and Samaria), in order to, supposedly, secure demography?  According to Kerry, “There is an existential threat to Israel…. I am referring to the demographic dynamic that makes it impossible for Israel to preserve its future as a democratic, Jewish state without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a two-state solution.”

Are Jews doomed to become a minority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and the pre-1967 Israel?

According to the 2013 CIA World Factbook,  Judea and Samaria Arabs  experienced a dramatic decline in fertility rate (the average number of births per woman): from five births in 2000 to 2.91 in 2013.  On the other hand, in 2014, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics documents a 3.04 Jewish fertility rate and 3.42 when both Jewish spouses are Israeli-born.

“A new Palestinian generation opts for fewer children is the title of an article by Rasha Abou Jalal, a Gaza journalist:  While Islam calls for believers to bear many children and prohibits the use of birth control, new Palestinian generations are defying tradition and leaning toward limiting the number of children they have…. The new generation takes into consideration various economic and cultural factors before deciding to have children.  The idea of limiting childbearing has, therefore, garnered more supporters than before…. The more Palestinians become aware and rational, the less they will procreate, as they pursue a level of education and knowledge that suits them and increases their chances of having a better life….

The Westernization of Muslim demographic trends, from Iran (1.8 births per woman), through Saudi Arabia (2.3), Syria and Egypt (2.9) and North Africa (1.8) has also characterized Muslim women in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and pre-1967 Israel. The unprecedented decline in Muslim fertility has been driven by modernity: accelerated women’s rights, urbanization, education, career mentality and family planning (72% of 15-49 year old married Palestinian women prefer to avoid pregnancy).  Thus, contemporary young Muslim women are reluctant to get married at the age of fifteen and start reproducing at the age of sixteen.  They tend to postpone marriage until after the age of 20 and prefer limited reproduction.

On the other hand, in 2014, the Israeli Jewish fertility rate (three births per woman and trending upwards) is higher than in any Arab country, other than Yemen, Iraq and Jordan.  Jewish demography has been enhanced by a high level of optimism, patriotism, communal responsibility and attachment to roots among religious and secular, hawks and doves, conservative and liberal Israelis, bolstered by economic progress. While the annual number of Arab births – west of the Jordan River – has stabilized since 1995, the annual number of Jewish births has surged from 80,000 in 1995 to about 132,000 in 2013 – a 65% increase!  This dramatic leap occurred despite declining fertility among ultra-orthodox Jews, but due to the substantial rise of secular Jewish fertility.  In 1995 there were 2.3 Jewish births per one Arab birth in Israel; in 2014 – 3.3 births.  In 1995, the number of Jewish births constituted 69% of total Israeli births; in 2014 – 77% and rising.

In 2014, there is a robust 66% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel – compared with a 9% and 39% in 1900 and 1947 – benefitting from a tailwind of fertility and net-immigration.  This contrasts with declining Arab fertility and annual Arab net-emigration (in 2014, 20,000 from Judea and Samaria).  In 2014, Israel’s Jewish population has reached 6.5 million people, next to 1.7 million Israeli Arabs and 1.7 million Judean and Samarian Arabs – one million less than the number claimed by the Palestinian Authority.  The misrepresentation was conceived in the late 1990s, in response to the arrival of one million Soviet Jews to Israel.  It consists of overseas residents, overseas births, by double-counting Jerusalem Arabs as Israeli Arabs (by Israel) and West Bankers (by the Palestinian Authority), etc..

Government Panel Wants to Fund Abortions

Monday, December 30th, 2013

The government will actively promote abortions by funding them for women between ages 20 and 33 if a proposal by a Health Ministry committee is accepted.

Israel’s”basket” of drugs and medical treatment gives hefty discounts for citizens, and the government adds “goodies” to the basket each year. The committee that came up with this coming year’s basket recommends that health funds cover abortions for women in the age bracket even if they have no medical reason to terminate a pregnancy.

Drugs for ADD/ADHD and alcohol addiction were not included in the recommendations for this year’s basket, but approval was suggested for new drugs for cancer treatment, AIDS and epilepsy.

Israeli Researcher: Chewing Gum Cause of Migraines in Teens

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Teenagers who love chewing, smacking and bubble-popping gum may be giving themselves a headache, according to research by Dr. Nathan Watemberg of Tel Aviv University-affiliated Meir Medical Center. His findings, published in Pediatric Neurology, could help treat countless cases of migraine and tension headaches in adolescents without the need for additional testing or medication.

Dr. Watemberg noticed at Meir’s Child Neurology Unit and clinics that many patients who reported headaches were daily gum chewers. Teenage girl patients were particularly avid chewers — a finding supported by previous dental studies.

He asked 30 patients between six and 19 years old who had chronic migraine or tension headaches and chewed gum daily to quit chewing gum for one month. After a month without gum, 19 of the 30 patients reported that their headaches went away entirely and seven reported a decrease in the frequency and intensity of headaches. To test the results, 26 of them agreed to resume gum chewing for two weeks. All of them reported a return of their symptoms within days.

“Out of our 30 patients, 26 reported significant improvement, and 19 had complete headache resolution,” said Dr. Watemberg. “Twenty of the improved patients later agreed to go back to chewing gum, and all of them reported an immediate relapse of symptoms.”

Aspartame, a common ingredient found in sugarless gum, has long been suspected of causing neurological damage. Prior to the European Food Safety Authority recently declaring the artificial sweetener as safe, studies have suggested it may provoke headaches in susceptible individuals. However, the Israeli researchers believe that the amount of aspartame released in gum is likely to be low because the flavor of gum is typically lost after the first few minutes of chewing. Rather, they believe the likely reason for the link between gum-chewing and headaches is the stress on the TMJ.

“Every doctor knows that overuse of the TMJ will cause headaches,” Dr. Watemberg said in a statement. “I believe this is what’s happening when children and teenagers chew gum excessively.”

A possible explanation for the association that exists between chewing gum and headaches is the stress placed on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), where the skull and jaw meet. Chewing gum causes unnecessary wear and tear of the cartilage that acts as a shock absorbent in the jaw joints, which can lead to pain and discomfort, Dr. Ben Kim, who is not not involved in the study. told the website Medical Daily.

Gum chewers use eight different facial expression when they chew. If used excessively, this can create chronic tightness in two of these muscles that are located near an individual’s temples. Therefore, the nerves that are on this area of the head feel extreme pressure, which can lead to chronic, reoccurring headaches.

Israeli Developer of Swallowable Camera Bought for $860 Million

Monday, December 9th, 2013

An Irish company will purchase Given Imaging Ltd., an Israeli firm that developed a swallowable camera to diagnose problems in the digestive tract.

Covidien Plc agreed to acquire Given Imaging from shareholders of IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. for about $860 million, it was reported Sunday. Given Imaging is the inventor of the PillCam, a swallowed optical endoscopy technology.

Covidien acquired three other Israeli medical device companies, all in 2012.

IDB subsidiaries Discount Investment Corp., Elron Electronic Industries and Rafael Development Corp. hold stakes in Given Imaging. The three companies were set to approve the deal on Sunday, which also must be approved by shareholders of Given Imaging.

Israeli Invents New Super Glue for Internal Surgery Incisions

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Israeli Prof. Havazelet Bianco-Peled of Haifa’s Technion University has invented a new super glue that mechanically seals areas of potential leakage after surgery, without the need for sutures.

Bianco-Peled set up the Sealantis start-up at Technion in 2007, and the company now is expecting FDA approval for the “Seal-V” glue, developed from the cell walls of brown algae.

Seal-V retains its sealant capacity even on wet surfaces,” said Bianco-Peled. The glue also is biorestorbable, meaning that the body automatically absorbs it after the wound heals.

Israeli Doctor Can Help Make You into a Real Man

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Tel Aviv University researchers didn’t have an immediate diagnosis for the under-masculinized young man, a former soldier, who walked into their clinic one day.

But they and the soldier didn’t know that they were beginning a years-long medical journey that would lead the researchers to discover a new genetic mutation, bolster the case for a counterintuitive medical treatment, and push the limits of male fertility.

Dr. Karen Tordjman, a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine didn’t have an immediate diagnosis for the under-masculinized young man who walked into her office.

A 25-year-old university student who had served in an elite commando unit in the Israeli navy, he was handsome in a fashion-model kind of way – rail thin, with a smooth face and delicate, feminine features. Closer inspection revealed no body hair other than sparse patches in his armpits and groin. His genitals were small and heavily scarred.

The young man had reluctantly agreed to visit the medical clinic at the insistence of his girlfriend, who wanted an explanation for his condition. He couldn’t have known he was initiating a years-long medical journey that would lead Dr. Tordjman and a team of physicians to discover a new genetic mutation, bolster the case for a counterintuitive medical treatment, and push the limits of male fertility.

“We offered treatment not for his future reproductive capabilities but for his appearance,” says Dr. Tordjman. “We didn’t guarantee him anything, but we said we’d try.”

Her research, published in the journal Andrologia, will allow future genetic screening for the mutation.

Dr. Tordjman and her colleague Dr. Amnon Botchan, also a Sackler lecturer, began by obtaining the patient’s medical records. The records showed that two of his uncles had been diagnosed with androgen receptor insensitivity — a rare condition that results in the body under-responding to the androgen hormones that drive male sexual development. Usually caused by a mutation in the androgen receptor gene, the condition impairs the development of male genitalia in the womb and of secondary male sexual characteristics during puberty.

In cases of complete androgen insensitivity, no male sexual development takes place. The result is men who look like women on the outside but have testes rather than female genitalia inside their bodies. Such cases are often diagnosed only during puberty, when the individuals develop breasts and other female sexual characteristics but do not start menstruating.

Dr. Tordjman’s patient, who reported a consistent heterosexual orientation, had not had sex reassignment surgery or been given androgen treatments to try to enhance his sexual development at birth. But he had been diagnosed with the same condition as his uncles and undergone operations to correct genital malformations at age three and to remove breast tissue during puberty. Genetic testing, performed with the help of French researchers Dr. Serge Lumbroso and Prof. Charles Sultan, confirmed that he had a mutation of his androgen receptor gene — one that had not previously been reported.

Hoping to masculinize the patient per his wishes, Dr. Tordjman started him on high-dose testosterone therapy. Theoretically, this type of therapy makes little sense for patients with androgen receptor insensitivity, because their bodies create plenty of testosterone — it’s just that they are unable to put it to use. But Tordjman had read about a case in which the therapy had worked and decided to give it a try.

After several months of weekly injections, the patient appeared dramatically more masculine. He gained 18 pounds — mostly of muscle — and grew hair on his face and body, leading him to shave for the first time in his life. His voice, which had always been high-pitched, did not change. The voice, says Tordjman, is stubbornly resistant to hormone therapy.

The treatments continued for four years, during which the patient and his girlfriend got married and eventually began talking about having a baby.

Infertility in men with androgen receptor insensitivity is nearly universal, even in mild cases; and no one with a case as severe as the patient’s was known to have successfully fathered a child. But having seen a significant improvement in his sperm count, Tordjman took another long shot and referred the couple for fertility treatment. When Tordjman next saw the patient several years later, he was pushing a baby girl into her office in a stroller.

Israelis Star in Nobel Prizes, so Why Doesn’t BDS Boycott Them?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Three more Jews, two of them with Israeli citizenship, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday, bringing to two the number of professors associated with Israeli universities who have been awarded Nobel prizes so far this year. Most of the winners have been Jews.

The-three man all Jewish team of Professors Aryeh Warshel, Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus, won the prize in chemistry for the development of multi-scale models for complex chemical systems.

Warshel is an Israel who was born in Kibbutz Sde Nachum, studied at Haifa’s Technion Institute and earned his doctorate at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv. Levitt, who also holds Israeli citizenship, was born in South Africa and is a professor at Stanford University. Karplus was born in Austria in 1930 and in 1938 escaped to the United States, where he earned his doctorate at the California Institute of Technology

Intentionally or not, TIME magazine’s report did not note that two of the winners were Israeli citizens.

It is doubtful that TIME was suddenly being so pro-Israel that it wanted to bury the facts from the Boycott Israel movement, which includes academics in Britain and other countries in Europe as well some in Australia who want to punish for the supposed “occupation” Israel by breaking off ties with its universities.

That would mean the Israelis would not be able share research with them, but in this childish game, it is the anti-Zionists who would lose out. Perhaps they deserve their own punishment. If the BDS folks were intellectually honest, they would protest against the Nobel Prize judges for awarding professors from Israleli universities.

There also is plenty of leeway for the anti-Semitic crowd to claim that Jews, including a Holocaust survivor, are running the world since they have won no less than six of the Nobel prizes awarded this week. A couple of non-Jews also have been recognized, and their numbers will likely rise as prizes are announced in the fields of literature and peace.

Francois Englert, a Belgian Jewish professor at Tel Aviv University and a Holocaust survivor, shared the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for their discovery of the Higgs particle, known as the “God particle,” which is said to have caused the Big Bang.

On Monday,  Jewish Americans James Rothman of Yale University and Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley, joined German-born researcher Thomas Suedhof, a non-Jew from Stanford University, in winning  the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Israeli leaders were as excited as the Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, if not more so.

President Shimon Peres called and congratulated Prof. Warshel and joked, “How does it feel for a man from the kibbutz to win a Nobel Prize?”

President Peres continued and said, “I want to congratulate you on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people and every person who hopes to overcome sickness and suffering because of your work. I am sure that your breakthrough will lead to advances in medicine and further scientific breakthroughs.”

He asked Prof. Warshel to convey his congratulations to the other prize winners, professors Levitt Karplus.

Israelis have won no less than six Nobel prizes in the past 11 years.

The BDS movement has not commented.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israelis-star-in-nobel-prizes-so-why-doesnt-bds-boycott-them/2013/10/09/

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