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1.  Estimation of 10 - year probability bone fracture in a selected sample of Palestinian people using fracture risk assessment tool 
The Fracture Risk Assessment (FRAX) tool has been developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to calculate 10-year probability hip fracture (HP) or major osteoporotic fracture (MOF). The objective of this study was to assess the 10-year probability of MOF and HF among a selected sample of Palestinian people.
A sample of 100 subjects was studied. Dual energy X-ray absorpitometry was performed to measure bone mineral density (BMD) which was then inserted into FRAX Palestine online WHO tool to calculate the 10-year probability of MOF and HF.
The median age of participants was 61.5 years and the majority (79%) were females. The median (interquartile range) of femoral hip BMD was 0.82 (0.76-0.92) g/cm2. The mean vertebral and hip T scores were -1.41 ± 0.13 SDs and -0.91 ± 0.10 SDs respectively. About one fifth of the sample (21%) had vertebral osteoporosis and 5% had hip osteoporosis. The median (interquartile range) 10-year probability of MOF and HF based on BMD were 3.7 (2.43-6.18)%, and 0.30 (0.10-0.68)% respectively.
Osteoporosis is common among Palestinian people above 50 years old. Bone fracture prevention strategies and research should be a priority in Palestine. Using FRAX might be a helpful screening tool in primary healthcare centres in Palestine.
PMCID: PMC3853474  PMID: 24093559
FRAX; Osteoporosis; Palestine
2.  Conformance to schizophrenia treatment guidelines in North West-Bank, Palestine: focus on antipsychotic dosing and polytherapy 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:179.
Analysis of the prescribing patterns of antipsychotic drugs can improve therapeutic outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prescribing pattern of antipsychotics and its conformance to international treatment guidelines.
A cross sectional study at primary psychiatric centers was carried out. Patients’ medical files were used to obtain demographic, medication and clinical information. International guidelines for schizophrenia were used to create conformance indicators. All statistical analyses were conducted using Statistical Package for Social Sciences.
250 patients were included in this study. A total of 406 antipsychotic agents were used; 348 (85.7%) were first generation antipsychotics (FGA). The prevalence of antipsychotic combination was 50.4% (n=126). There was no significant difference in positive (p=0.3), negative (p=0.06) and psychopathology (p=0.5) scores of schizophrenia symptoms among patients on monotherapy versus those on antipsychotic combination. Furthermore, no significant difference was observed in the annual cost of antipsychotic monotherapy versus combination therapy. One hundred and five patients (42%) were using optimum dose of (300 – 600 mg CPZeq) while the remaining were using sub or supra therapeutic doses. Analysis showed that use of depot, use of anticholinergic agents and increasing amount of total CPZeq were significant factors associated with antipsychotic combination.
This study indicated that antipsychotic prescribing was not in conformance with international guidelines with respect to maintenance dose and combination therapy. Type of antipsychotic treatment regimen, combination versus monotherapy, was not associated with better clinical or economic outcome.
PMCID: PMC3700822  PMID: 23816223
Antipsychotics; Prescribing pattern; Palestine
3.  Evaluation of Defined Daily Dose, percentage of British National Formulary maximum and chlorpromazine equivalents in antipsychotic drug utilization 
The present study was carried out to investigate and compare the three methods for calculating total antipsychotic dose among outpatients with schizophrenia attending primary psychiatric health care centers. The three methods were: Defined Daily Doses (DDDs), chlorpromazine equivalents (CPZeq) and percentages of the British National Formulary (BNF) maximum.
Antipsychotic drug dosing data for 250 patients with schizophrenia were investigated by calculating Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients. Factors associated with antipsychotic dose, expressed as DDDs, CPZeq and percentages of the BNF maximum recommended daily dose, were investigated by means of linear regression analysis.
Spearman’s correlation showed that there is a significant relationship between all pairs of the three dosing methods. In all three methods, coherence was strongest when dealing with first generation antipsychotics (FGA). Linear regression analyses showed a high degree of coherence between antipsychotic doses expressed as DDDs, CPZeq and percentages of the BNF maximum recommended daily dose.
All three tested methods are reliable and coherent for calculating antipsychotic dosing.
PMCID: PMC3950502  PMID: 24648824
%BNFmax, percentage of British National Formulary maximum; CPZeq, chlorpromazine equivalents; DDD, Defined Daily Dose (DDD); FGA, first generation antipsychotics; SGA, second generation antipsychotics; Antipsychotics; Chlorpromazine equivalents; Defined Daily Doses; Schizophrenia
4.  Medical and biomedical research productivity from Palestine, 2002 – 2011 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:41.
Medical research productivity reflects the level of medical education and practice in a particular country. The objective of this study was to examine the quantity and quality of medical and biomedical research published from Palestine.
Comprehensive review of the literature indexed by Scopus was conducted. Data from Jan 01, 2002 till December 31, 2011 was searched for authors affiliated with Palestine or Palestinian authority. Results were refined to limit the search to medical and biomedical subjects. The quality of publication was assessed using Journal Citation Report. The total number of publications was 2207. A total of 770 publications were in the medical and biomedical subject areas. The annual rate of publication was 0.077 articles per gross domestic product/capita. The 770 publications have an h-index of 32. One hundred and thirty eight (18%) articles were published in 46 journals that were not indexed in the web of knowledge. Twenty two (22/770; 2.9%) articles were published in journals with an IF > 10.
The quantity and quality of research originating from Palestinian institutions is promising given the scarce resources of Palestine. However, more effort is needed to bridge the gap in medical research productivity and to promote better health in Palestine.
PMCID: PMC3566958  PMID: 23375070
Research; Productivity; Scopus; Medical and biomedical research; Palestine
5.  Prevalence of metabolic syndrome among patients with Schizophrenia in Palestine 
BMC Psychiatry  2012;12:235.
Metabolic syndrome (MS) is a cluster of the most dangerous cardiac risk factors and is associated with high mortality. Ethnic differences in metabolic syndrome (MS) criteria and prevalence rates have been reported. The purpose of this study was to investigate the MS prevalence among patients with schizophrenia in Palestine.
We recruited 250 patients with schizophrenia from 4 psychiatric primary healthcare centers in Northern Palestine. The MS prevalence was assessed based on National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III Adapted criteria.
The overall MS prevalence was 43.6%, with 39% in male and 55.9% in female patients. On average, the study patients had 2.3 ± 1.3 metabolic abnormalities. Univariate analysis showed that MS was significantly higher with older age, female gender, longer duration of the illness, smoking, abdominal obesity, high systolic and diastolic blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL-C, and high fasting plasma glucose. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that only systolic blood pressure, high triglycerides, high fasting plasma glucose, and low HDL-C were significant predictors of MS in schizophrenic patients.
MS is common among Arab patients with schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia should receive regular monitoring and adequate treatment of cardio-metabolic risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3543707  PMID: 23270504
Schizophrenia; Metabolic syndrome; Palestine
6.  Pattern of self-medication with analgesics among Iranian University students in central Iran 
Self-medication is defined as the use of drugs for the treatment of self-diagnosed disorders. It is influenced by factors such as education, family, society, law, availability of drugs and exposure to advertisements. This study was performed to evaluate self-medication with analgesics and its pattern among different groups of Iranian University Students.
Materials and Methods:
A randomized, cross-sectional, multicenter study was conducted from December 2009 to February 2010. The target population of this study was 564 students out of 10,000 students attending four medical and non-medical science universities in Qom state. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16, and analysis was conducted with descriptive analysis procedures.
76.6% of the students had used analgesics in self-medication in the previous 3 months. The frequency of analgesic use in the study period was once in 19.2% of the participants, twice in 22.2%, three times in 16.3% and more than three times in 35.5% of the participants, although 6.8% of them were not sure when they were used. Of all the respondents, 49.8% reported headache as the problem. This was the most common problem, after which came Dysmenorrhea,headache and stomach ache. Bone and joint pains were other problems that led to the use of analgesics. The most commonly used source of information for self-medication with analgesics was advice from friends and family (54.7%), previously prescribed medications (30.1%), their medical knowledge (13.3%) and recommendation of a pharmacist (1.9%).
Self-medication with analgesics is very high among Iranian students in Qom city. This could be an index for other parts of the Iranian community. Because the source of information about analgesics is inappropriate, we would recommend education courses about analgesics and self-medication on the radio and television for the entire population.
PMCID: PMC3410176  PMID: 22870417
Analgesics; Iran; students; self-medication
7.  Sleep habits and sleep problems among Palestinian students 
The aim of this study was to describe sleep habits and sleep problems in a population of undergraduates in Palestine. Association between self-reported sleep quality and self-reported academic achievement was also investigated.
Sleep habits and problems were investigated using a convenience sample of students from An-Najah National University, Palestine. The study was carried out during spring semester, 2009. A self-administered questionnaire developed based on The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV criteria and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used.
400 students with a mean age of 20.2 ± 1.3 were studied. Reported mean duration of night sleep in the study sample was 6.4 ± 1.1 hours. The majority (58.3%) of students went to bed before midnight and 18% of the total sample woke up before 6 am. Sleep latency of more than one hour was present in 19.3% of the students. Two thirds (64.8%) of the students reported having at least one nocturnal awakening per night. Nightmares were the most common parasomnia reported by students. Daytime naps were common and reported in 74.5% of the study sample. Sleep quality was reported as "poor" in only 9.8% and was significantly associated with sleep latency, frequency of nocturnal awakenings, time of going to bed, nightmares but not with academic achievement.
Sleep habits among Palestinian undergraduates were comparable to those reported in European studies. Sleep problems were common and there was no significant association between sleep quality and academic achievement.
PMCID: PMC3148974  PMID: 21762479
8.  Knowledge and practices of pesticide use among farm workers in the West Bank, Palestine: safety implications 
The objectives of this study were to assess the knowledge and practices associated with pesticide use in an agricultural community in Palestine, and to determine the prevalence of self-reported health symptoms related to pesticide exposure.
In this cross-sectional questionnaire study, agricultural farm workers in Nablus district, Palestine, were interviewed on their knowledge and practices of pesticide use. Comparisons of knowledge and practices of pesticide use between various groups were performed using the Mann–Whitney U-test or the Kruskal–Wallis rank test of variance. The program of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15 was used for data analysis.
The questionnaire was completed by 381 farm workers. The mean age ± SD of the participants was 38.8 ± 11.8 years. The majority (97.9%) of the participants were male. The mean participant scores for knowledge and safety procedures were 2.8 ± 3.2 out of 8 and 9.8 ± 2.4 out of 15, respectively. There was a significant positive correlation (r = 0.323; P < 0.001) between the knowledge and safety procedure scores. Unsafe behaviors were identified as the storage of pesticide products at home, the preparation of pesticides in the kitchen, inadequate disposal of empty pesticide containers, eating and drinking during pesticide application, and using inadequate protective clothing. The most frequent self-reported toxicity symptoms associated with pesticide use were skin rash (37.5%), headache (37%), excessive sweating (24.9%), and diarrhea (21.3%). There was a strong significant negative correlation (r = −0.83; P < 0.001) between self-reported toxicity symptoms and scores for protective measures.
The results of this study indicate that most farm workers in this district need more educational programs regarding the safety and use of pesticides. Legislation promoting the use of safer pesticides is also needed.
PMCID: PMC2886885  PMID: 21432553
Pesticide; Knowledge; Practice; Symptom; Palestine
10.  Optimal dosing of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in patients with chronic heart failure: a cross-sectional study in Palestine 
Annals of Saudi Medicine  2009;29(2):119-122.
Because high-dose angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy is desirable in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), we sought to determine the usage and dosing patterns of ACE inhibitors in CHF patients at a governmental hospital in Palestine.
This cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2006 and August 2007. All patients admitted with a confirmed diagnosis of CHF and an ejection fraction <40% were evaluated. After excluding patients with a caution/contraindication to ACE inhibitor use or not taking an ACE inhibitor, we determined the number of patients receiving optimal (captopril 150-300 mg/day, enalapril 20-40 mg/day, ramipril 5-10 mg/day) and suboptimal doses. We then conducted statistical analyses to evaluate associations between ACE inhibitor use and dosing and various demographic and clinical factors.
Of the 165 patients initially evaluated, 69 (41.8%) had a caution/contraindication (n=28, 40.6%) or were not using an ACE inhibitor (n=41, 59.4%). Of the remaining 96 patients (70.1%), 49/96 (51%) were given an optimal dose while 47/96 (49%) were given a suboptimal dose. Of all patients with CHF and no contraindication (n=137), 88 (64.2%) were either receiving no ACE inhibitor or a suboptimal dose. Only the presence of hypertension was significantly associated with the use of an ACE inhibitor (P=.009, odds ratio=2.7). The use of an optimal dose was not significantly associated with any of the tested factors (age, gender, presence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, renal dysfunction, ischemic heart disease or number of diagnosis).
Underutilization and suboptimal dosing of ACE inhibitors was common. Since there is an abundance of evidence in favor of using high-dose ACE inhibitor therapy in patients with CHF, physicians need to be educated about proper dosing of these agents.
PMCID: PMC2813632  PMID: 19318756
11.  Predictors of in-Hospital Mortality after Acute Stroke: Impact of Gender 
The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of in-hospital mortality after acute stroke and investigate the impact of gender on stroke mortality. All patients admitted to Al-watani governmental hospital in Palestine from September 2006 to August 2007 and diagnosed with acute stroke were included in the study. Diagnosis of stroke was confirmed by computerized tomography scan. Demographics and clinical data pertaining to the patients were obtained from their medical files. The main outcome measure in this study was vital status at hospital discharge. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify the independent predictors of in-hospital mortality. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS 15. A total of 186 acute stroke cases (95 females and 91 males) were included in the study. Hypertension (69.9%) and diabetes mellitus (45.2%) were the most common risk factors among the patients. Thirty nine (21%) of the stroke patients died in hospital. Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that chronic kidney disease (P = 0.004), number of post-stroke complications (P = 0.037), and stroke subtype (P = 0.015) were independent predictors of in-hospital mortality among the total stroke patients. Knowledge of in-hospital mortality predictors is required to improve survival rate after acute stroke. The study showed that gender was not an independent predictor of mortality after acute stroke. More research is required to understand gender differences in stroke mortality.
PMCID: PMC2680055  PMID: 19436831
Predictors; hospital mortality; acute stroke; gender
12.  Prevalence of reduced renal function among diabetic hypertensive patients 
Patients with diabetes mellitus and hypertension are at high risk of vascular complications, particularly, renal deterioration. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence and the risk factors of reduced renal function corresponding to chronic kidney disease (CKD) stages 3 – 5 among diabetic hypertensive patients. This is a retrospective cohort study of diabetic hypertensive patients attending A-Watani governmental medical center from August 2006 until August 2007. Creatinine clearance (CrCl) was estimated using the Cockcroft–Gault equation. Those with CrCl< 60 ml/ min, corresponding to CDK stages 3 – 5, were considered to have reduced renal function. The prevalence of reduced renal function was calculated, and the risk factors associated with it were evaluated using multiple logistic regression. The following were the results found in this study: (a) the prevalence of reduced renal function among the study patients was 35.5% distributed as follows: (63.5%) had stage 3 CKD, 21.7% had stage 4 and 13% had stage 5 CKD. (b) Patients with reduced renal function were elderly, had a higher number of chronic diseases and had a longer duration of diabetes and hypertension than those with CrCl≥ 60ml/ min. (c) Men had a higher prevalence of reduced renal function than women. (d) Significant predictors of reduced renal function were older age, duration of diabetes and the number of chronic diseases based on logistic regression analysis. Early and continuous screening of renal function among diabetic hypertensive patients is required to implement preventable strategies of end stage renal disease (ESRD). Better control of blood pressure and diabetes mellitus are important.
PMCID: PMC3040939  PMID: 21383877
Prevalence; reduced renal function; diabetic hypertension; diabetes mellitus

Results 1-12 (12)