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Prevention of Preterm Birth

Summary

Preterm birth (PTB) is a worldwide problem with great social significance because it is a leading cause of perinatal complications and perinatal mortality. PTB is responsible for more than a half of neonatal deaths. The rate of preterm delivery varies between 5-18% worldwide and has not decreased in recent years, regardless of the development of medical science. One of the leading causes for that is the failure to identify the high-risk group in prenatal care. PTB is a heterogeneous syndrome in which many different factors interfere at different levels of the pathogenesis of the initiation of delivery, finally resulting in delivery before 37 weeks of gestation (wg). The various specificities of risk factors and the unclear mechanism of initiation of labour make it difficult to elaborate standard, unified and effective screening to diagnose pregnant women at high-risk for PTB correctly. Furthermore, they make primary and secondary prophylaxis less effective and render diagnostic and therapeutic measures ineffective and inappropriate. Reliable and accessible screening methods are necessary for antenatal care, and risk factors for PTB should be studied and clarified in search of useful tools to solve issues of risk pregnancies to decrease PTB rates and associated complications.

Open access
Professional Fulfillment: Ideas and Expectations of Pre-Graduate Student Nurses

Summary

The objective of this study was to investigate the attitudes and expectations of fourth-year student nurses regarding their professional fulfillment after completing basic education. A questionnaire survey was carried out in six higher educational institutions in the Republic of Bulgaria - Pleven, Sofia, Varna, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv, and Ruse. Almost half of the students involved (114, 49.10%), planned to apply for a master’s degree in management of health care, and 62 (26.70%) preferred fulfillment abroad. Concerning the place of work, 80 (34.50%) of the respondents wished to specialize in surgical care. Of this latter group, 108 (46.60%) expressed the opinion that they would obtain excellent training in surgical units, and 62 (26.70%) expected to like the specificity of work in such units. The most significant influence on professional orientation in the area of surgical care of the future nurses was that of the tutors from the clinical bases - 90 (38.80%).

Open access
Synthesis and Photocatalytic Properties of Nitrogen Modified Titanium Dioxide

Summary

Pure and nitrogen-doped titanium dioxide (N-doped TiO2) photocatalysts were prepared by non-aqueous sol-gel method by means of the reaction between titanium (IV) chloride (TiCl4) and C6H5CH2 OH (benzyl alcohol), used as precursors and urea serving as a nitrogen source. The phase formation and short-range order of the resulting particles were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) and infrared (IR) spectroscopy. The crystallite size of as-prepared composite powders was in the range 12-35 nm. The aim of this work was to investigate the efficiency of N-doped TiO2 as a photocatalyst in degradation of model organic pollutants - dyes Reactive Black 5 (RB5) and Malachite Green (MG), under ultraviolet (UV) and visible (Vis) irradiation. 0ur results indicated that synthesized N-TiO2 nanocomposites slightly improved the photocatalytic activity under UV irradiation, compared to the pure titanium dioxide (TiO2), and had no effect under Vis light illumination.

Open access
UV Light Stimulated Activation of Camkii in Human Epidermoid Carcinoma A431 Cells

Summary

The Ca2+/calmodulin dependent kinase II (CaMKII) represents a family of serine/threonine kinases with diverse functions, implicated in various signalling pathways in the cell, especially in those controlling cellular proliferation and cellular death. The human epidermoid carcinoma cell line A431 is an established model for the study of the cell cycle and cancer-associated signalling, in which the role of CaMKII is not so well elucidated. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the role of CaMKII in the induction of apoptosis in the cell line A431 following ultraviolet (UV) irradiation and to determine the downstream events with a focus on the caspase cascade. For the latter purpose, we employed a method initially developed for the simultaneous determination of the activity of 10 different caspase enzymes. Following exposure to UV light, we observed activation of the activator caspase-8 followed by activation of the effector caspase-3, triggering apoptosis in the epidermoid carcinoma cell line A431. The results supported a pivotal role of caspases and demonstrated that a protein kinase cascade involving caspases-8 and -3 is the main pathway driven in UV-induced apoptosis in the human carcinoma cell line A431, and apoptotic stimuli triggering this pathway passed through activation of the kinase CaMKII.

Open access
Biochemical Effects of Matured Stem Extract of Opuntia Dillenii in Male Wistar Rats

Summary

The effect of aqueous matured stem extract of Opuntia dillenii on selected biochemical parameters in Male Wistar rats was explored. Standard analytical methods were applied. Forty Wistar rats (80-100g) were used in the animal studies, separated into four groups. The control group was solely administered normal feed and saline, group I was administered 100mgkg−1 of the extract, group II received 300mgkg−1 of the extract and group III received 500 mg/kg−1 of the extract. A significant increase (p<0.05) in the activities of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase was observed in group II and III rats, as compared with the controls. A significant decrease in urea and creatinine concentrations was found only in group III rats against the controls. Also, a significant (p<0.05) decrease in triglyceride, total cholesterol, and low density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol was seen in group II and group III rats when compared with the control. The hematological evaluation revealed a significant (p<0.05) decrease in red blood cell and hemoglobin levels in group III rats when compared with the control. The findings showed both beneficial and toxicological effects of the plant. Hence, for optimal therapeutic benefits, a further toxicological survey could still be carried out perhaps at higher doses.

Open access
Chemical Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Chaenomeles Maulei Fruit Juice

Summary

Chaenomeles maulei is the name of the cultivar of Chaenomeles japonica, which was introduced in Europe. The present study aimed to investigate the chemical composition and the antioxidant activity of Chaenomeles maulei fruit juice (CMFJ). The ingredients of the juice sample were measured by spectrophotometric, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gravimetric methods. The antioxidant activity was measured by the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and hydroxyl radical averting capacity (HORAC) assays. The results showed that CMFJ was extremely rich in polyphenolic substances, amongst which the highest was the concentration of procyanidin oligomers, followed by phenolic acids (vanillic > caffeic > chlorogenic > neochlorogenic > p-coumaric > ellagic > ferulic > 4-dihydroxy-benzoic) and flavonoids (epicatechin > catechin > quercetin-3-β-glucoside > quercetin > rutin > naringin > kaempferol > myricetin). The sour taste of the juice and its low pH were due to the high content of organic acids (malic > quinic > citric > shikimic > ascorbic > oxalic). The carbohydrates were presented by glucose > fructose > galactose > xylose > rhamnose > arabinose. The antioxidant activity measured by ORAC and HORAC was very high. It could be attributed to the high content of polyphenolics in the juice.

Open access
Clinical Aspects of Food Allergy in Infants in Pleven Region, Bulgaria

Summary

Food allergy is an immunoglobulin E-meditated reaction, to which the organism’s immune system reacts to a food allergen, recognizing it as harmful. The study aimed to establish at what age cow’s milk protein allergy is manifested and determine the values of immunoglobulin E (IgE) and hemoglobin(Hb) in children with CMPA in Pleven region, Bulgaria. The study included 94 infants presenting with clinical manifestations of food allergy (age range 0 to 12 months) from Pleven and Pleven region, consulted in 2017 by a pediatrician at the University Hospital Consulting Center in Pleven. Venous blood was collected to determine the IgE and Hb values. Chronic iron-deficiency anemia could be the only clinical manifestation in children with CMPA. Out of all the children with CMPA, 17% had a pronounced anemic syndrome. The rest had normal Hb values. Anemic syndrome could have severe consequences for a growing child. Elevated IgE values were found in 73% of the children tested. CMPA is frequently seen in infants. Early diagnosis of clinical manifestations and diet could prevent severe complications of allergy such as chronic diarrhea, chronic urticaria, and asthma.

Open access
Factors of Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients with Malignant Diseases

Summary

Symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion are considered to be the most common complaints in patients with oncological diseases during and after treatment. The manifestations can be on a physical, cognitive and emotional level. At diagnosis, 40% of patients report fatigue, and this percentage increases to 90% during treatment. However, the exact determinants of fatigue are not yet known. This article is a literary review of the problem of cancer-related fatigue – mechanisms, risk factors, and the impact on the lives of those affected. Literary data on the role of subjective well-being in terms of fatigue and emotional responses of patients with oncological diseases are described. A number of contemporary studies of the combined effect of fatigue and pain on the functioning of oncology patients have been discussed. It is concluded that the symptoms of fatigue, exhaustion and pain are considered the most common complaints in patients with oncologic pathology during and after treatment, whose manifestations may be physical, cognitive and emotional. On the other hand, human health satisfaction is one of the most important predictors of life satisfaction, which contributes significantly to the overall well-being of the patients group discussed.

Open access
Fetuin-A – Alpha2-Heremans-Schmid Glycoprotein: From Structure to a Novel Marker of Chronic Diseases Part 2. Fetuin-A – A Marker of Insulin Resistance and Related Chronic Diseases

Summary

Fetuin-A is a secretory liver glycoprotein with multiple physiological functions such as regulation of insulin resistance, tissue calcification, bone metabolism, cellular proteolytic activity, and self-proliferative signaling.

Fetuin-A is a unique molecule which binds to the insulin receptor, modulating its sensitivity, and transducing “the physiological conditions” (serum levels of the metabolites like glucose, free fatty acids, inflammatory signals) from outside into inside the cells. Plasma fetuin-A levels correlate with reduced glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. Impaired insulin sensitivity leads to the development of metabolic syndrome, an increased risk for type 2 diabetes (T2DM), dyslipidaemias and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Furthermore, fetuin-A inversely correlates with inflammatory and activation biomarkers, e.g. in patients with T2DM. Thus, circulatory fetuin-A levels may have plausible predictive importance as a biomarker of risk of diabetes and negative acute phase protein. Dysregulated, it plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of some metabolic disorders and clinical inflammatory conditions like metabolic syndrome, T2DM, CVDs, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), etc.

Open access
Home Birth in the Opinion of Obstetricians and Midwives: A Survey

Summary

Many studies report benefits of planned home births by registered midwives. In the 21st century, there are still controversial views and vivid discussions. This publication presents results from a survey on the opinion of obstetricians and midwives about home birth. An individual self-administered questionnaire was distributed among 26 obstetricians and 60 midwives from 14 maternitycare units in Central Northern Bulgaria and 93 undergraduate students in their last year of midwifery education in 6 universities in Bulgaria. The study instruments were approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the Medical University – Pleven. Data analysis was performed with Microsoft Office Excel 2016 and SPSS v.21.0. Home births were supported by 26.9% of the obstetricians, 20.0% of the midwives and 66.8% of the students. According to 65.4% of the obstetricians, 23.3% of the midwives and 15.1% of the students, midwives are not qualified enough to provide homecare services at delivery. Only 11.6% midwives and 35.5% students were confident that midwives could give adequate home birth care. This lack of support for home births in all the study groups in our survey can be attributed to organizational factors within the health system, as well as to low self-confidence of midwives and mistrust on behalf of obstetricians.

Open access