Dr. Yair Molad, Head of the Rheumatology Unit at Rabin Medical Center, Visits New York City

Dear American Friends of Rabin Medical Center,

Twenty-two years after graduating the fellowship program in the Rheumatology Division at New York University Medical Center and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, I've come back as a visiting professor for a 10-week sabbatical period. I thus take this opportunity to present you to a very special and unique specialty in medicine – Rheumatology (rheuma means in Greek river).

Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics devoted to diagnosis, therapy and research of rheumatic diseases. The spectrum of the rheumatic diseases is wide, ranges from degenerative joint disease (Osteoarthritis) and soft-tissue rheumatism to inflammatory arthritis (joint inflammation) and systemic (multi-organ) autoimmune diseases.

The immunological system in our body is aimed to seek and destroy germs that invade the body. However, in some individuals the same immune system mistakenly reacts against its own body's cells and tissues, a process called autoimmunity, which eventually leads to a wide spectrum of rheumatic diseases. In many cases of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or arthritis that affects people who have psoriasis (Psoriatic arthritis), the autoimmune reaction causes joint pain, tenderness, swelling and redness, all of which are clinical signs of joint inflammation (arthritis). In other cases, the autoimmune process affects other organs, such as the skin, lungs, kidneys, heart and/or brain. These autoimmune multi-organ diseases include lupus (SLE), Sjögren's syndrome, Scleroderma, Polymyositis, Dermatomyositis and other rheumatic disorders, as well as Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessel walls).

Typically, the autoimmune rheumatic diseases affect mostly young women, and the patients are chronically treated with various medications, such as steroids, cytotoxic and biologic agents, that keep regulate and supress the immune system, and keep the manifestations of the disease in remission as well as prevent irreversible organ damage and death.

The Rheumatology Unit at RMC – Beilinson Hospital maintains an active outpatient clinical practice and an inpatient consultation service for patients with rheumatic diseases. Rheumatologists at RMC are not only committed to providing state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to our patients but are also dedicated to pursuing new knowledge and translating research findings into more effective diagnosis and treatment options for patients with rheumatic diseases. As one of the largest academic rheumatology units in Israel, we are involved in many investigator as well as industry-initiated clinical studies along with basic research focusing on the immunological and molecular aspects of the rheumatic diseases.

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