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Concept: Gaza Strip

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Coeliac disease is an important clinical disorder affecting the human gastrointestinal tract leading to multiple signs and symptoms in different body organs. This disease was the subject of a cross sectional descriptive-analytic study conducted in the Gaza Strip during 2010. Objectives were oriented to identify and verify several variables and attributes affecting the prognosis of coeliac disease in the patients. Ninety five children out of 113 patients were arranged into two groups according to age from 2 to 11 years and from 12 to 18 years old. Results showed the poor interest of health professionals regarding coeliac disease in the Gaza Strip. The mean age of study population was 5.47 years for males and 8.93 years for females. The lifestyle of coeliac patients was directly proportional with better nutritional indictors. Poor recognition of the emblem illustrating gluten in foods implicates effective health awareness or promotion. The more knowledgeable patients or mothers (P = 0.036) were the more compliant. The compliance to giving gluten free foods outside home was statistically significant (P = 0.037). Similarly, cautious approach when buying foods or detergents (P = 0.011). According to BMI 74.4%, 23.4% and 3.2% of all patients were normal, underweight and overweight respectively. Albumin blood level was normal in 32.6% and low in 67.4%. Meanwhile, blood calcium level was normal in 76.8%, low in 21.1% and high in 2.1% of all patients. Conclusion: The study showed that recreation and social activities for coeliac patients are substantially missing in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the study proved that AEI is a reliable centre for care of coeliac disease patients and conducting relevant studies. Recommendation: There is a need for thorough and continuous community and institutional mobilization regarding coeliac disease in the Gaza Strip and in Palestine.

Concepts: Hamas, Coeliac disease, Second Intifada, Gaza, Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian territories, Gaza Strip, Gluten-free diet

33

Physical activity (PA) at leisure by the elderly, and its relationship to cardiovascular (CV) and non-CV mortality, with and without competing risk, has been scarcely described. We determined the relationships between PA, smoking and 12-year CV, non-CV and all-cause mortality in elderly Oslo men screened for CV disease in 1972-1973 and 2000.

Concepts: Gaza Strip, Retirement, Oslo Accords, Smoking cessation, Death

30

The present paper examines the talk of three senior figures from the Palestinian Hamas political movement. Data are drawn from a series of journalistic interviews that were conducted in the months leading up to the invasion of Gaza by Israel in December 2007. Using membership categorization analysis, we explore the membership categories and category-bound attributes that interviewers use in questions about responsibility for potentially culpable actions and the ways that these are taken up, challenged, or reworked by interviewees in presenting their own versions. The analytic findings show that interviewers deploy categories bound up with terrorism while interviewees develop alternative categorizations of resistance. Interviewers construct Palestinians as victims of Hamas' actions while interviewees construct them as victims of Israeli aggression and international indifference. In warranting these alternative constructions, the interviewees contrast current behaviours of the international community with those of the past and align current Palestinian actions with those previously taken by Western nations in resisting illegitimate occupations. Through these descriptions of categories and actions, the interviewees attribute to the wider international community responsibility for addressing the events of the ongoing conflict.

Concepts: Palestinian people, Present, Yasser Arafat, Palestinian territories, Palestine Liberation Organization, Gaza Strip, Palestinian National Authority, Israel

28

This article focuses on child health in the Palestinian refugee camp of Dheisheh in the West Bank region of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Thirty in-depth interviews were carried out with parents to determine their perceptions of their children’s health. The questions related to physical, mental and social well-being, access to health facilities, factors that were likely to hinder health and measures that could be implemented to improve child health. The study was carried out prior to and during the Gaza War in December 2008 that resulted in the deaths of 1380 Palestinians including 431 children and 112 women [1]. The effects of occupation, conflict and being a refugee had a detrimental impact on perceptions of health. Interviewees revealed that their perceptions of their children’s health were determined by the camp’s conditions, the current economic climate, past and current political conflict and financial and social restrictions. The understanding of being healthy incorporated physical and mental health as well as social well-being. As a result, 70% of interviewees deemed that their children were not in good health. This finding accelerated to 100% after the Gaza War, showing the negative effect war has on health perceptions. Findings showed that perceptions of physical health are very much interlinked with mental well-being and parents' perceptions of their children’s health, and are closely related to their state of mental health. Consequently, a clear correlation can be discerned between the ongoing occupation and its detrimental effects on mental health. Therapeutic and preventive health programmes such as child therapy and stress management that have already been implemented by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme would be highly beneficial to both children and adults in Dheisheh refugee camp.

Concepts: Hamas, Palestinian people, West Bank, Palestinian territories, Gaza, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Israel

27

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BACKGROUND: β-Thalassemia is a disorder caused by mutations at the hemoglobin β-gene (HBB) locus. Its most important manifestation, the major form, is characterized by severe hypochromic and hemolytic anemia and is inherited in an autosomal recessive mode. In Gaza Strip, Palestine 0.02% of the population has been identified as β-thalassemia major. DESIGN AND METHODS: An assessment of mutations was performed in 49 transfusion dependent patients with β-thalassemia major and in 176 β-thalassemia carriers diagnosed with a mean erythrocyte cell volume (MCV) <80fl and a proportion of HbA(2)>3.5%. In addition 39 individuals suspicious for β-thalassemia carrier status due to a reduced MCV (<80fl) but a normal HBA(2) were screened. RESULTS: By screening with three hybridization assays a proportion of 80% of the thalassemic chromosomes from patients and carriers was identified to carry five different mutations of the hemoglobin (Hb) β-gene. Subsequent DNA sequencing confirmed these and revealed further 9% of the chromosomes to be affected by other mutations. In addition six chromosomes from suspicious carriers were detected to carry β-thalassemia mutations. Of the 15 different HBB mutations identified the variant IVS-I-110 G>A was the most frequent mutation identified in 34% of the thalassemic chromosomes, followed by IVS-I-1 G>A, IVS-I-6 T>C, Codon 39 C>T, and Codon 37 G>A. Three novel HBB variants were discovered by direct sequencing of the gene: 5' UTR-50 (-/G), 5' UTR-43 C>T, and IVS-II-26 T>G. CONCLUSIONS: The spectrum of HBB mutations described is of the Mediterranean type whereby the allele frequencies of the most common mutations differ from those, which were previously described for the population of the Gaza Strip and other Palestinian populations. The data presented may promote the introduction of molecular testing to the Palestinian premarital screening program for β-thalassemia in Gaza Strip, which will improve the screening protocol and genetic counseling in the future.

Concepts: Second Intifada, Hamas, Gaza, Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian territories, Israel, DNA, Gaza Strip

15

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has periodically estimated infant mortality rates among Palestine refugees in Gaza. These surveys have recorded a decline from 127 per 1000 live births in 1960 to 20.2 in 2008.

Concepts: Demography, Yasser Arafat, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, Second Intifada, Gaza, Infant mortality, Hamas, Gaza Strip

12

Metal contamination of humans in war areas has rarely been investigated. Weaponry’s heavy metals become environmentally stable war remnants and accumulate in living things. They also pose health risks in terms of prenatal intake, with potential long term risks for reproductive and children’s health. We studied the contribution of military attacks to the load of 23 metals in the hair of Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip, who were pregnant at the time of the military attacks in 2014, and their newborns. We compared the metal load in the mothers with values for adult hair from outside the war area (RHS) as the reference. We investigated heavy metals trans-passing in utero, and assessed if the heavy metal intake could derive from sources unrelated to the war.

Concepts: Second Intifada, Gaza, Palestinian territories, Israel, Palestinian National Authority, Childbirth, Heavy metal music, Gaza Strip

12

The late president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, died in November 2004 in Percy Hospital, one month after having experienced a sudden onset of symptoms that included severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain and which were followed by multiple organ failure. In spite of numerous investigations performed in France, the pathophysiological mechanisms at the origin of the symptoms could not be identified. In 2011, we found abnormal levels of polonium-210 ((210)Po) in some of Arafat’s belongings that were worn during his final hospital stay and which were stained with biological fluids. This finding led to the exhumation of Arafat’s remains in 2012. Significantly higher (up to 20 times) activities of (210)Po and lead-210 ((210)Pb) were found in the ribs, iliac crest and sternum specimens compared to reference samples from the literature (p-value <1%). In all specimens from the tomb, (210)Po activity was supported by a similar activity of (210)Pb. Biokinetic calculations demonstrated that a (210)Pb impurity, as identified in a commercial source of 3MBq of (210)Po, may be responsible for the activities measured in Arafat's belongings and remains 8 years after his death. The absence of myelosuppression and hair loss in Mr Arafat's case compared to Mr Litvinenko's, the only known case of malicious poisoning with (210)Po, could be explained by differences in the time delivery-scheme of intake. In conclusion, statistical Bayesian analysis combining all the evidence gathered in our forensic expert report moderately supports the proposition that Mr Arafat was poisoned by (210)Po.

Concepts: Fatah, Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas, Gaza Strip, Palestinian people, Second Intifada, Palestinian National Authority, Yasser Arafat

5

Humanity is facing a biodiversity crisis. To solve environmental problems, we bring people from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority to the same table. Conservation efforts are beneficial for all communities and facilitate constructive dialog across divides in conflict zones. This pleads for the integration of nature conservation into peacebuilding interventions.

Concepts: Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, Palestinian National Authority, Second Intifada, Palestinian territories, Yasser Arafat, Palestinian people, Israel