Southern Israel gets sophisticated new catheterization facility

"The new facilities will have a significant impact on the health of heart patients in the periphery."

SURGEONS OPERATE at Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba. (photo credit: Courtesy)
SURGEONS OPERATE at Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A new and advanced cardiological catheterization center – claimed to be the most sophisticated in the country – has been opened at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba to diagnose and treat residents of the South. Four new echocardiography devices were dedicated at the same time.
Echocardiography is diagnostic cardiac ultrasound using sound waves to create pictures of the heart’s chambers, valves, walls and the blood vessels attached to the heart.
Hospital director-general Prof. Ehud Davidson said the new facilities will have a significant impact on the health of heart patients in the periphery. “It is a revolution for Negev residents.”
Prof. Doron Zager, chief of cardiology at Soroka, said the new systems are among the most modern in the world, which will make Negev residents feel certain that they are getting the best possible care.
Until a few years ago, catheterization and angioplasty involved only expanding coronary arteries that were clogged with plaque, said Dr. Carlos Kafri, head of Soroka’s catheterization unit. “Today, we are able to expand a patient’s clogged heart valves and implant artificial ones with a catheter under maximal conditions. The new cath room produces much less radiation and makes it possible to move the patient easily in all directions.”
Dr. Noa Liel, head of the echocardiography unit, said the four new machines produce 3D images that greatly improve diagnosis of heart problems.
A new backboard for emergency medical situations that adapts for use in difficult terrain has been developed by students at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in collaboration with Segal Bikes and United Hatzalah. The backboard, which can also serve as a stretcher, allows the patient to be transported quickly over long distances by two people, without tiring them.
This is accomplished by hooking up the stretcher to a large bicycle wheel that is employed to bear most of the weight of the patient, allowing first responders to transport the patient from their location in the field to the waiting ambulance quickly and without exhausting themselves in the process.
Called the Adventure Stretcher, it was invented as part of a final project by two Technion engineering students, Michael Addah and Ro’ee Etyanash. It is lightweight, collapsible and adheres to the standards of regular backboards and stretchers already being used in the field by emergency medical service teams.
The stretcher could be used in difficult terrain such as off-road bicycle paths where regular cars and ambulances can’t go; often these paths are longer than 10 kilometers and cannot be accessed by ambulance. The final product was tested and displayed recently at the Technion’s new-inventions showcase.
Consuming chicken eggs significantly increases growth and reduces stunting by 47 percent in young children, according to a new study at Washington University in St.
Louis. This, published recently in the journal Pediatrics, was a much greater effect than had been shown in previous studies.
“Eggs can be affordable and easily accessible,” said Dr. Lora Iannotti, lead author of the study. “They are also a good source of nutrients for growth and development in young children,” she added. “Eggs have the potential to contribute to reduced growth stunting around the world.”
Iannotti and her co-authors conducted a randomized, controlled trial in Ecuador in 2015. Children ages six to nine months were randomly assigned to be given one egg per day for half a year, versus a control group who did not receive eggs, which were shown to increase standardized length-for-age score and weight-for-age score. Models indicated a reduced prevalence of stunting by 47% and underweight by 74%. Children in the treatment group had higher dietary intakes of eggs and reduced intake of sugar-sweetened foods compared to the control group.
“We were surprised by just how effective this intervention proved to be,” Iannotti said. “The size of the effect was 0.63 compared to the 0.39 global average.”
Eggs are a complete food, safely packaged and arguably more accessible in resource-poor populations than other complementary foods, specifically fortified foods, she said.
“Our study carefully monitored allergic reactions to eggs, but no incidents were observed or reported by caregivers during the weekly home visits,” Iannotti concluded.
“Eggs seem to be a viable and recommended source of nutrition for children in developing countries.”
Drinking a beetroot juice supplement before working out makes the brain of older adults perform more efficiently, mirroring the operations of a younger brain, according to a new study by scientists at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. The study was published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
“We knew, going in, that a number of studies had shown that exercise has positive effects on the brain,” said W. Jack Rejeski, study co-author. “But what we showed in this brief training study of hypertensive older adults was that, as compared to exercise alone, adding a beetroot juice supplement to exercise resulted in brain connectivity that closely resembles what you see in younger adults.”
While continued work in this area is needed to replicate and extend these exciting findings, they do suggest that what we eat as we age could be critically important to the maintenance of our brain health and functional independence.
The study included 26 men and women age 55 and older who did not exercise, had high blood pressure and took no more than two medications for high blood pressure. Three times a week for six weeks, they drank a beetroot juice supplement called Beet-It Sport Shot one hour before a moderately intense, 50-minute walk on a treadmill. Half the participants received Beet-It containing 560 mg of nitrate; the others received a placebo Beet-It with very little nitrate.
Beets contain a high level of dietary nitrate, which is converted to nitrite and then nitric oxide (NO) when consumed.
NO increases blood flow in the body, and multiple studies have shown it can improve exercise performance in people of various ages.
“Nitric oxide is a really powerful molecule. It goes to the areas of the body which are hypoxic, or needing oxygen, and the brain is a heavy feeder of oxygen in the body,” said Rejeski.
During exercise, the brain’s somatomotor cortex, which processes information from the muscles, sorts out the cues coming in from the body. Exercise should strengthen the somatomotor cortex. So combining beetroot juice with exercise delivers even more oxygen to the brain and creates an excellent environment for strengthening the somatomotor cortex.