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  • Author: Milena Nikolić x
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Determinants of the Level of Contributions for Pension and Disability Insurance: The EU and Serbia


Both in theory and practice, great attention is paid to the analysis of the pension expenditures level, their determinants, as well as the options for their reduction, whereas the analysis of the revenues level and contributions, as the most significant revenue in contribution-based pension systems, is often neglected. The aim of this paper is to analyse the determinants of the level of contributions for pension and disability insurance in order to identify options for increasing their levels in the pension system of the Republic of Serbia. By using the comparative method, a comparative analysis of data about the trends of the most significant determinants of contribution levels among the European Union Member States and Serbia is performed. Research results have shown that increase in the contribution level for pension and disability insurance in the Republic of Serbia can be achieved by extending the definition of contribution base of employees, increasing the average effective retirement age and increasing the effective population coverage by this insurance. In addition to pointing out the options for increasing the contribution level for pension and disability insurance, the authors also propose the measures which can be applied in order to affect the increase of the contribution level for this insurance and, therefore, the total revenues level of the pension system of the Republic of Serbia.

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Factors Influencing the Fear of Needles among Students of Medicine and Pharmacy


Fear of needles can significantly limit professional and social functioning of a person, and is highly prevalent in general population (4%).

The aim of our study was to reveal risk factors that are associated with fear of needles among healthy university students of medicine and pharmacy.

The study was of a cross-sectional type. In total, 301 students of medicine or pharmacy (82% female and 18% male) attending from 1st to 5th year of study were surveyed at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujevac, Serbia. The students were surveyed using a questionnaires (scales) for assessing the fear of needless, a visual analog scale for self-assessment intensity of the fear of needless, and a general questionnaire with questions about socio-demographic characteristics of the participants. Using a score on the scales as out-come variables, multiple regressions were employed to reveal factors that may influence the fear of needles.

Average values of Blood/Injection Fear Scale, Injection Phobia Scale-Anxiety and Medical Avoidance Survey scores were 7.89 ± 9.48, 4.46 ± 5.18 and 89.95 ± 12.73, respectively. The following factors affected significantly the score of the scales: course of study, chronic disease in the family, fear of a dentist, smell of the room phobia, sound phobia, score on the Beck’s anxiety scale and fear of a situation when medical staff give an injection. The presence of chronic disease in the family was a protective factor, while the other six factors were contributing to the fear of needles.

Fear of needles is more prevalent among the students of pharmacy than among the students of medicine. It is less frequent among students with chronic disease in their family, while fear of dentist, smell of the room phobia, sound phobia, general anxiety and fear from the situation when medical staff give an injection are all factors that predispose students of medicine or pharmacy to develop fear of needles.

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Atherogenic Impact of Homocysteine: Can HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors Additionally Influence Hyperhomocysteinaemia?


The strong association among the risk of coronary artery diseases (CAD), high levels of LDL-C and low levels of HDLC is well established. Hyperhomocysteinaemia (HHcy) is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and causes endothelial dysfunction, a hallmark of atherosclerosis. In this study, we ascertained the influence of statins on the atherogenic index, as an indicator and a significant adjunct for predicting atherosclerosis in hyperhomocysteinaemic male Wistar albino rats. For 4 weeks, the animals were fed with one of the following diets (Mucedola SRL., Milan, Italy): standard rodent chow; a diet enriched in methionine with no deficiency in B vitamins or a diet enriched in methio-nine and deficient in B vitamins. The animals were simultaneously exposed to a pharmacology treatment with atorvastatin at dose of 3 mg/kg/day i.p. or simvastatin, at dose of 5 mg/kg/day i.p. We measured weight gain, food intake, and FER and determined the concentrations of biochemical parameters of dyslipidaemia (TC, TGs, LDL-C, VLDL-C, and HDL-C), AI, and CRR. A histopathological examination was conducted on portions of the right and left liver lobes from each animal. A connection between Hhcy and dyslipidaemia was indicated by the findings of biochemical and histological analyses, suggesting that Hhcy was a pro-atherogenic state. An improvement in the lipid profile along with a decrease in the atherogenic index by statins suggests that atorvastatin and simvastatin could be useful antiatherogenic agents, with protective activities during hyperhomocysteinaemia.

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Analysis of Treatment-Related Factors Affecting Mortality in Patients with Severe Necrotizing Acute Pancreatitis


The aim of the paper was to determine the factors related to the initial therapy that may contribute to death from severe necrotizing acute pancreatitis and to analyze their clinical importance as well as possible additive effects.

A retrospective case-control study included all adult patients treated for severe necrotizing acute pancreatitis in the Clinical Center of Kragujevac, Serbia, during the five-year period (2006-2010.). The cases (n = 41) were patients who died, while the controls (n = 69) were participants who survived. In order to estimate the relationship between potential risk factors and observed outcome, crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI) were calculated in logistic regression models.

Significant association with observed outcome was shown for the use of gelatin and/or hydroxyethyl starch (adjusted OR 12.555; 95 % CI 1.150-137.005), use of albumin (adjusted OR 27.973; 95 % CI 1.741-449.373), use of octreotide (adjusted OR 16.069; 95 % CI 1.072-240.821) and avoiding of enteral feeding (adjusted OR 3.933; 95 % CI 1.118-13.829), while the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs had protective role (adjusted OR 0.057; 95 % CI 0.004-0.805).

The risk of death in patients with predicted severe necrotizing acute pancreatitis could be reduced with avoidance of treatment with colloid solutions, albumin and octreotide, as well as with an early introduction of oral/enteral nutrition and use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Open access