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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘medicine’

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.

Two Jews Win Nobel Prize in Medicine

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Two more Jews, both from the United States, and a German non-Jew won the Nobel Prize in medicine in Monday, while two Israel contenders lost out.

The newest Jewish Nobel Prize winners are James Rothman of Yale University and Randy Schekman of the University of California. The Israeli hopefuls  were Hebrew University professors Howard Cedar and Aharon Razin.

More than 20 percent of the 800 Nobel Prize winners so far have been Jewish although Jews represent only 0.2 of the world’s population.

The third winner Monday was Dr. Thomas Sudhof of Stanford University. All three scientists shared the $1.2 million for their research on how tiny bubbles are carriers inside cells, making sure that the right elements arrive at the right place and at the right time.

This year’s Nobel Prizes in other fields are to be announced  within the next two weeks.

UPDATE: And yet another Jew has won a Nobel Prize in Physics.

Israel Raises Funds to Treat Ethiopian Boy Mauled by Hyena

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Israeli officials have joined international efforts to save an 8-year-old boy who was mauled by a wild hyena in Ethiopia.

Bedouin-Israeli diplomat Ismail Khaldi and Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Belaynesh Zevadia, are spearheading a campaign for contributions for bringing Abdul Razek to the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya.

Five months ago, the hyena attacked Abdul’s village, killing five and injuring 15. Abdul suffered severe head, scalp and eye injuries, and lost one of his ears. The estimated cost of the operation is $40,000.

With most of the money raised, it is expected the boy could come to Israel by the end of the week.

Dr. Rick Hodes of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is on a mission in Ethiopia and interceded with the hospital on behalf of the child.

Video Games Can Help in Stroke Rehab, Says Israeli Research

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Common interactive video games may be  an affordable and effective alternative to traditional therapy for stroke victims, says Tel Aviv University’s Medical School Dr. Debbie Rand.

patients undergo hours of rehabilitation after a stroke to restore movement, speech, and overall functionality, but many still return home without the ability to perform daily tasks, such as dressing, cooking or driving.

Dr. Rand’s recent study, in collaboration with a team from Sheba Medical Center, found that people recovering from stroke who use video games as a therapeutic method are more physically active during rehabilitation sessions, making more movements overall than those who experience traditional motor therapy.

Interactive game consoles require players to move continuously to interact with the virtual games, Dr. Rand explains. In her study, not only did the players perform double the number of arm movements during each session compared to patients in traditional therapy, but all of their movements also were purposeful or “goal-directed” and not just repetitive exercises.

When individuals plan their movements and move deliberately in order to accomplish a specific goal, it is likely to have a positive impact on brain plasticity — changes in the brain that are crucial for recovery from brain damage caused by stroke, Dr. Rand notes.

Players’ movements require precision and balance, and there is a cognitive benefit in that video games require strategy and planning. The individuals are motivated and enjoy the activity, making it  more likely that they will continue the treatment regime long-term, she believes.

She tested the effectiveness of interactive video games compared to traditional therapy comparing individuals who had experienced a stroke one to seven years before the study began. They  were randomly assigned to one of two groups of 20 participants each — a traditional therapy group, who completed traditional rehabilitation exercises, and a video games group which played video games using Xbox Kinect, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii gaming consoles. Each group received two sessions a week with occupational therapists for a period of three months.

Although both groups showed improvement in functions such as grip strength of their weaker and stronger hands and gait speed, participants in the video games group continued to improve their grip strength for three months following the intervention, while the traditional group did not.

Beyond the physical advantages, Dr. Rand believes that video games could be an excellent alternative to traditional therapy simply because they’re more fun. In the video game group, 92 percent of participants reported enjoying the experience “extremely” or “very much,” opposed to 72 percent of the traditional group.

If patients are enjoying the therapy experience, it’s more likely that they will adhere to the therapy regime long-term, noting that game consoles are now widely available and fairly inexpensive. Participants who were in the video game playing group reported: “It was lots of fun,” “it stimulated all of my senses,” and “I finished the sessions wet from sweat, which proves that I really worked hard.”

The group environment also contributed to the success of the therapy, Dr. Rand says. Often, individuals with stroke are isolated and don’t have a very active social life. This program allowed them to connect with people like themselves, and encourage and support one another’s efforts.

In future studies, she intends to investigate whether these interactive video games will be as effective if they are used independently by patients at home to keep up activity levels — a crucial element of rehabilitation following a stroke.

Maimonides Says Change Your Habits, Not Just Your Diet

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

With a few weeks until summer, numerous new diets are popping up to offer a quick fix. But there’s a reason most diets fail – it’s just too easy to fall back into old habits. Even if you want to lose weight because of a health scare or for an upcoming family celebration, that inspiration often fades as your grandiose dieting plans lose steam. You can only rely on your own motivation for so long.  Even if you do lose weight, maintaining that success is unlikely.  Today’s nutritionists and psychologists teach us that we need to change our habits, not just our diet, but this strategy is actually rooted in traditional Jewish wisdom.

Maimonides, the 12th century Jewish sage and medical doctor, wrote extensively on nutrition and wellness, and his writings are now being incorporated into contemporary medical studies on healthy living habits. After years of studying his writings, I see that Maimonides believed that long-term weight loss success is dependent on more than just motivation; working your mind along with your body is essential. Weight loss and optimum health are more than simply issues of food and diet; changing our habits – our learned behaviors – is possible and effective when they are done at the right pace.

Motivation simply relies on inspiration and will power. Even if you are highly motivated, you still have to contend with old, stubborn habits. In order to achieve long-term success, changing those habits is essential. Habitual change causes a subconscious inner change. The outer action may be exactly the same every time you repeat it, but the subconscious accumulation of every minor experience and feeling associated with that act gains momentum each time it is repeated. Eventually, your new habits will replace your negative habits.

Maimonides distinguishes between ‘habit’ and ‘motivation’. He writes:

“Positive behavior characteristics are not acquired by doing great (positive) acts but rather by repeating positive acts. For example, giving $1,000 to one charity will not accustom a person to being generous, whereas giving $1 to 1000 different charities rehearses the trait of generosity in that individual. That repeated action of giving regulates that person to continue giving.  By repeating an act many times, an established behavior or emotional pattern is formed. In contrast, one great act does do some level of good, but the motivation may disappear shortly thereafter.” (See Commentary to Avos 3:18)

Specifically with regards to health and wellness, Maimonides writes, “One’s usual custom and habit is a fundamental principle in the maintenance of health and the cure of illnesses. One should not change ones habits all at once.” (Regimen of Health 4, 15)

Here, Maimonides teaches us about human nature: to change a bad habit, the key is to take simple steps.

The success that many people had losing weight based on my book, “The Life Transforming Diet” was the result of adhering to the wisdom of Maimonides and his principles of behavior modification. As I continued my research, honing in more specifically on habits, I designed a five-week plan that comes just in time to prepare for the summer.

This plan for establishing habits for healthy living will set you in motion, as Maimonides discusses, to change those old, stubborn eating habits:

  • Habit 1 – Week 1: Swap out one meal each day with a Light Meal that’s 250 calories or less, like fruit, salad, eggs and toast or cereal with milk.
  • Habit 2 – Week 2: Make one meal each day a Concentrated Food or “CF Meal” of protein + veggies only. A glass of red wine is also allowed!
  • Habit 3 – Week 3: Make one meal each day a “V-Plus” Meal – the V is for veggies! Eat as you normally would (including healthy grains), but for seconds, it’s veggies only.
  • Habit 4 – Week 4: Add in Exercise with just 10 minutes of cardio, 3 days/week to start
  • Habit 5 – Week 5: Between meals, start Snack Substitution: try water, veggies, low-fat dairy, or fruit instead.

It’s crucial not to jump stages in this program. The goal is to introduce one positive habit each week. In the first week, you will make only one change. In the second week, you will continue with your first change, and then add one more – and so on. It is important to make only the one change every week, and keep the rest of your routine exactly the same. These are the steps to changing your habits forever. You can read more about the 5 habits and 5-week program, including diet diaries, motivation, sample meal plans and daily schedules at www.5skinnyhabits.com.

Brain-Dead Israeli Boy’s Kidney Donated to PA Child

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The kidney of a 3-year-old Israeli boy was successfully transplanted to a 10-year-old Palestinian Authority boy.

The parents of Noam Naor decided to donate his kidneys after their son was declared brain dead nearly two weeks ago after falling from a window in his parents’ apartment.

One kidney went to an Israeli child, and the parents were asked by the National Transplant Center for their permission to give the second kidney to a boy from the Palestinian Authority, according to reports.

The operation on Sunday was successful, according to the Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikvah.

The Palestinian child had been undergoing dialysis for seven years at the Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem while waiting for a match.

“Noam’s parents are noble and an inspiration to us all,” Israeli Health Minister Yael German said. “Their donation is a source of pride and an example of humanity and kindness.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/brain-dead-israeli-boys-kidney-donated-to-pa-child/2013/06/03/

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