(photo credit: BLOOMBERG)
Children born to consanguineous (related by family) parents are at higher risk
of having difficulty reading compared to children whose parents did not inbreed,
according to a new study at the University of Haifa, and are also at greater
risk of certain genetic disorders. These autosomal recessive disorders occur in
people who carry a particular recessive gene mutation. This means they carry two
copies of the same gene. Arabs suffer from one of the highest rates of genetic
disease in the world, and over 900 genetic disorders have been identified in
them and their descendants, according to the Center for Arab Genomic Studies.
The disorders vary from deafness and spinal deformation to Wilson’s disease,
muscular dystrophy and kidney failure.
Prof. Salim Abu-Rabia and Latifa
Marron of the university’s special education departments studied Arab couples
and their 814 children in grades four through six. The schoolchildren were
controlled for socioeconomic status and underwent reading tests. The researchers
found that 59 percent of the children whose parents were consanguineous had
reading problems compared to only 13% whose parents were not related. They then
divided up the children, finding 21 with reading difficulties whose parents had
inbred and compared them to 21 children whose parents had not (and thus served
as the controls). All of them underwent a battery of tests on memory and the
ability to identify letters, vowels and words.
The found that 33% of the
kids whose parents were cousins suffered from the most difficult reading
disabilities, compared to just 11% among the control group. Of the control
group, most were more successful on the reading tests than the inbred group.
Inbreeding has long been known to increase the risk of a variety of physical and
intellectual disorders; children who escape these problem still are at high risk
for reading problems, the researchers concluded.AN APPLE (IPAD) A DAY
Apple’s iPads are going to take over in hospitals, and Bnei Brak’s Ma’ayanei
Hayeshua Medical Center (MHMC) is the pioneer – the first Israeli hospital to
give iPad technology to its doctors. Medical staff can now check patient
records, test results, hiresolution X-rays and CT scans, report on patient
progress and plan ongoing treatment using the latest hand-held
The hospital invested in the iPad version 4.2, customized for
Hebrew, which allows clinicians instant touch-screen access to patient records
and medical information via secure password-protected Internet.
information technology team have programed the Apple iPad to interact with its
Microsoft Chameleon program.
According to hospital CEO Dr. Yoram Liwer,
“the picture quality on the iPad screen enables our doctors to check
high-resolution X-ray and scan images, either on the wards or from outside the
hospital, and to diagnose and prescribe treatment at any time. Patients, too,
were found to be happy with it. “That is why we are using the latest devices to
help revolutionize patient care,” explained Liwer.
Dr. Nir Cohen, head of
the orthopedic surgery at the Orthodox-sponsored hospital, noted that “as head
of the department, even working late at night from home, I can now give
directions to medical staff during operations using my iPad, and check that
vital treatment records have been entered correctly into the hospital system.
This can help speed up surgical procedures, reducing the time spent under
anaesthetic.”BUT FACEBOOK CAN HARM DOCTOR-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP
with a profile on Facebook may be compromising the doctor-patient relationship,
because they don’t use sufficient privacy settings, indicates research recently
published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The authors base their
findings on a survey of the Facebook activities of some 200 postgraduate trainee
doctors at Rouen University Hospital in France. Almost three-quarters said they
had a Facebook profile, with eight out of 10 saying they had had a presence on
the site for at least a year. One in four logged on to the site several times a
day, but almost half did so several times a week.
physicians displayed sufficient personal information for them to be identified,
and 91% displayed a personal photo. Just over half revealed their current post,
while 59% provided information on their current university training site. Only a
few Facebookers had received a friend request from a patient, four of whom
accepted it. But such requests are likely to become more common, suggest the
authors. While most respondents said they generate an automatic refusal to a
friend request from a patient, one in seven (15%) said they decide on a
The reasons given for accepting a patient as a friend
included feeling an affinity with them and a fear of embarrassing or losing that
patient if they decline. The need to keep a professional distance and the
suspicion that the patient was interested in a romantic relationship were the
primary reasons given for rejecting the request.
“This new interaction
(whether romantic or not) results in an ethically problematic situation because
it is unrelated to direct patient care,” say the authors. “Moreover, public
availability of information on a doctor’s private life may threaten the mutual
confidence between doctor and patient if the patient accesses information not
intended for them.” They warn MDs to be aware that comments and pictures posted
online may be misinterpreted outside their original context and may not
accurately reflect their opinions and reallife behavior. This information could
also become accessible to people that it was not intended for, the authors