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Open access

Lana Pađen, Tomislav Gomerčić, Martina Đuras, Haidi Arbanasić and Ana Galov


In this study the hematological and biochemical parameters in the blood of indigenous Croatian working horse breeds were investigated. The Posavina and Croatian Coldblood horses are adapted to harsh environmental conditions and their blood parameters might differ from other horse breeds. The study was carried out on 100 mares and 12 stallions of ages from 2 to 19 years. Fifteen hematological and 19 biochemical parameters were analysed. Values of 22 parameters showed considerable overlapping with values obtained for other horse breeds, and substantial resemblance is evident with values reported for Pakistani working horses. Several reference values showed statistically significant effect of sex (Hb, ALB, CREA, TBIL and Ca where significantly higher in stallions; EOS, CK, ALP, UREA and Mg were significantly higher in mares). None of the parameters studied showed any differences associated with age. The adaptation of Posavina and Croatian Coldblood horses to the harsh environment of flooded pastures and the way of breeding might be reflected in their specific reference values. The obtained results enabled the establishment of hematological and biochemical reference values in the blood of Posavina and Croatian Coldblood horses that will in turn support clinical diagnosis and further research into horse physiology.

Open access

Andraž Šmon, Urh Grošelj, Mojca Žerjav Tanšek, Ajda Biček, Adrijana Oblak, Mirjana Zupančič, Ciril Kržišnik, Barbka Repič Lampret, Simona Murko, Sergej Hojker and Tadej Battelino


Introduction. Newborn screening in whole Slovenia started in 1979 with screening for phenylketonuria (PKU). Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) was added into the programme in 1981. The aim of this study was to analyse the data of neonatal screening in Slovenia from 1993 to 2012 for PKU, and from 1991 to 2012 for CH.

Methods. Blood samples were collected from the heels of newborns between the third and the fifth day after birth. Fluorometric method was used for screening for PKU, CH screening was done by dissociationenhanced lanthanide fluorescent immunoassay (DELFIA).

Results. From 1993 to 2012, from 385,831 newborns 57 were identified with PKU. 184 newborns out of 427,396 screened from 1991 to 2012, were confirmed for CH. Incidences of PKU and CH in the periods stated are 1:6769 and 1:2323, respectively.

Conclusions. Successful implementation of newborn screening for PKU and CH has helped in preventing serious disabilities of the affected children. Adding screening for new metabolic diseases in the future would be beneficial.

Open access

Tahar Bartil, Mahmoud Bounekhel, Calberg Cedric and Robert Jeerome

Swelling behavior and release properties of pH-sensitive hydrogels based on methacrylic derivatives

The purpose of this study is to develop novel intestinal-specific drug delivery systems with pH sensitive swelling and drug release properties. Methacrylic-type polymeric prodrugs were synthesized by free radical copolymerization of methacrylic acid, poly(ethyleneglycol monomethyl ether methacrylate) and a methacrylic derivative of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-(4-methoxyphenyl) acetamide in the presence of ethylene glycol dimethacrylate as crosslinking agent. The effect of copolymer composition on the swelling behavior and hydrolytic degradation were studied in simulated gastric (SGF, pH 1.2) and intestinal fluids (SIF, pH 7.0). The dynamic swelling behavior of these hydrogels was investigated to determine the mechanism of water transport through these hydrogels. The mechanism of water transport through the gels was significantly affected by the pH of the swelling medium and became more relaxation-controlled in a swelling medium of pH 7.0. The swelling and hydrolytic behaviors of hydrogels were dependent on the content of methacrylic acid (MAA) groups and caused a decrease and increase in gel swelling in SGF and SIF, respectively. Drug release studies showed that the increasing content of MAA in the copolymer enhances hydrolysis in SIF. These results suggest that pH-sensitive systems could be useful for preparation of a muccoadhesive system and controlled release of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-(4-methoxyphenyl) acetamide.

Open access

Ayse Engin, Bensu Karahalil, Ali Karakaya and Atilla Engin

Association Between XRCC1 ARG399GLN and P53 ARG72PRO Polymorphisms and the Risk of Gastric and Colorectal Cancer in Turkish Population

Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancers of the gastrointestinal system, and its overall five-year survival rate is still 15 % to 20 %, as it can mostly be diagnosed at an advanced stage. On the other hand, although colorectal cancer has a rather good prognosis, mortality is one half that of the incidence.

As carcinogenesis is believed to involve reactive radicals that cause DNA adduct formation, impaired repair activity, and weakened tumour suppression, it would help to understand the role of the polymorphisms of nucleotide excision repair enzyme XRCC1 and of tumour suppressor gene p53 in gastric and colorectal cancers. Our study included 94 gastric cancer patients, 96 colorectal cancer patients, and 108 cancer-free individuals as control with the aim to see if there was an association between XRCC1 Arg399Gln and p53 Arg72Pro polymorphisms and cancer susceptibility. DNA was extracted from peripheral blood cells and genotypes were determined using the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Polymorphism p53 Arg72Pro was not associated with either gastric or colorectal carcinoma, while XRCC1 Arg399Gln was not associated with the increased risk of colorectal cancer. However, XRCC1 homozygous Gln allele at codon 399 was associated with 2.54 times higher risk of gastric cancer.

Open access

Majid Golabadi, Mirsaeed Attarchi, Saeed Raeisi and Mohamad Namvar


Nursing is a stressful and highly demanding job. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between psychosocial job strain and the prevalence of back symptoms in nursing personnel using the demand-control model. In a cross-sectional study, 545 nursing professionals answered to a self-administered questionnaire on demography, job content, and lower and upper back symptoms (LBS and UBS, respectively). Based on their answers, the participants were grouped as follows: low strain, high strain, active job, and passive job. The groups were compared in regard to the prevalence of LBS and UBS (totalling 58.5 % and 47.9 %, respectively) over the past 12 months. We found no association between job control and back symptoms, but participants with high psychosocial job demands showed greater risk of LBS (OR=1.57 and p=0.014) and UBS (OR=1.73 and p=0.005) than those with low job demands. LBS in the low strain, high strain, and active job groups was more prevalent than in the passive group (OR=1.64, OR=2.49 and OR=1.90, respectively; p≤0.05). In addition, the high strain group showed greater prevalence of UBS than the passive group (OR=1.82 and p=0.019). Our study suggests that psychosocial job strain, high psychosocial demands in particular, may be associated with greater prevalence of back symptoms in nursing personnel. Our findings may help to design preventive measures that would lower the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in this profession.

Open access

Maja Drobnič Radobuljac and Yael Shmueli-Goetz


Attachment is a behavioral and physiological system, which enables individual’s dynamic adaptation to its environment. Attachment develops in close interaction between an infant and his/her mother, plays an important role in the development of the infant’s brain, and influences the quality of interpersonal relationships throughout life.

Security of attachment is believed to influence individual response to stress, exposing insecurely organized individuals to deregulated autonomic nervous system and exaggerated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity, which, in turn, produces increased and prolonged exposure to stress-hormones. Such stress responses may have considerable implications for the development of diverse health-risk conditions, such as insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia, shown by numerous studies.

Although the mechanisms are not yet fully understood, there is compelling evidence highlighting the role of psychological stress in the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D). One of the possible contributing factors for the development of T1D may be the influence of attachment security on individual stress reactivity. Thus, the suggestion is that insecurely attached individuals are more prone to experience increased and prolonged influence of stress hormones and other mechanisms causing pancreatic beta-cell destruction. The present paper opens with a short overview of the field of attachment in children, the principal attachment classifications and their historic development, describes the influence of attachment security on individual stress-reactivity and the role of the latter in the development of T1D. Following is a review of recent literature on the attachment in patients with T1D with a conclusion of a proposed role of attachment organization in the etiology of T1D.

Open access

Saber Mohammadi, Yasser Labbafinejad and Mirsaeed Attarchi

Combined Effects of Ototoxic Solvents and Noise on Hearing in Automobile Plant Workers in Iran

Exposure of workers to mixtures of organic solvents and to occupational noise is frequent in a number of industries. Recent studies suggest that exposure to both can cause a more severe hearing loss than exposure to noise alone. Our cross-sectional study included 411 workers of a large automobile plant divided in three groups. The first group included assembly workers exposed to noise alone; the second included workers in a new paint shop, who were exposed to a mixture of organic solvents at a permissible level; and the third group included paint shop workers exposed to both noise and higher than permissible levels of organic solvents in an old paint shop. These groups were compared in terms of low-frequency hearing loss (model 1; average hearing threshold >25 dB at 0.5 kHz, 1 kHz, and 2 kHz) and high-frequency hearing loss (model 2; average hearing threshold >25 dB at 3 kHz, 4 kHz, 6 kHz, and 8 kHz). High-frequency hearing loss was more common in workers exposed to a combination of noise and mixed organic solvents even at permissible levels than in workers exposed to noise alone even after correction for confounding variables. This study shows that combined exposure to mixed organic solvents and occupational noise can exacerbate hearing loss in workers. Therefore, an appropriate hearing protection programme is recommended, that would include short-interval audiometric examinations and efficient hearing protectors.

Open access

Howard J. Mason, Ian Smith, Siti Marwanis Anua, Nargiz Tagiyeva, Sean Semple and Graham Devereux


This small study investigated house dust mite (HDM) allergen levels in cars and their owners’ homes in north-east Scotland. Dust samples from twelve households and cars were collected in a standardised manner. The dust samples were extracted and measured for the Dermatophagoides group 2 allergens (Der p 2 and Der f 2) and total soluble protein. Allergen levels at homes tended to be higher than in the cars, but not significantly. However, they significantly correlated with paired car dust samples expressed either per unit weight of dust or soluble protein (rho=0.657; p=0.02 and 0.769; p=0.003, respectively). This points to house-to-car allergen transfer, with the car allergen levels largely reflecting levels in the owner’s home. Car HDM allergen levels were lower than those reported in Brazil and the USA. Twenty-five percent of the houses and none of the cars had allergen levels in dust greater than 2000 ng g-1. This value is often quoted as a threshold for the risk of sensitisation, although a number of studies report increased risk of sensitisation at lower levels. This small study does not allow for characterisation of the distribution of HDM allergen in vehicles in this geographic area, or of the likely levels in other warmer and more humid areas of the UK. Cars and other vehicles are an under-investigated micro-environment for exposure to allergenic material.

Open access

Saša Pantelić, Radmila Kostić, Ratomir Djurašković, Slavoljub Uzunović, Zoran Milanović and Nebojša Trajković


Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the structure, characteristics and significance of the relationship between physical fitness, BMI and WHR on one hand and hypertension of elderly men and women on the other.

Methods: The sample consisted of 1288 participants (594 men and 694 women) who live in their own households in the cities and villages of Central, Eastern and South Serbia. After the obtained classification of participants based on arterial blood pressure, 231 patients with hypertension aged 60-80 years were selected. The subsample consisted of 138 male participants, while the subsample of women was 93 participants. Predictor variables consisted of 6 variables for the evaluation of physical fitness, Body mass index (BMI) and Waist-to Hip Ratio index (WHR). Criterion variables consisted of systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP).

Results: The results showed that there is a statistically significant correlation (p <0.05) between predictor variables and hypertension. Higher values of higher SBP in elderly men causes an increase in body weight due to increased body fat (BMI, WHR). In elderly women, these changes occur under the influence of increased body mass index and reduced CRF. Higher values of high DBP in elderly men cause more power and flexibility of the upper body and in elderly women greater strength in the arms and less strength in legs and CRF.

Conclusions: Being overweight in both subsamples could be considered as a factor that contributes to high blood pressure.

Open access

Gabriella Iski, Hajnalka Márton, István Ilyés, Zoltán Hendrik, Eszter Kovács and Imre Rurik

Correlations between obesity and asthma control in children: Hungarian primary care pilot study

Introduction: Asthma is often associated with overweight and obesity. The aim of this study was to find associations between asthma control, obesity and different levels of physical activity.

Methods: Using a questionnaire, 117 asthmatic patients between 6-18 years of age were interviewed. Two groups of children, normal vs. overweight, at different levels of physical activity (sport, school-based proper or light activity and full physical exemption) were compared. Asthma control was evaluated in two groups (controlled vs. non or partially controlled).

Results: The asthmatic status was generally controlled in 78%; in 81% and 72% of patients with a normal weight and overweight, respectively. Being overweight was more common among girls than boys (43.2% vs. 30.3%). A positive family history of asthma was revealed in many cases; the prevalence of asthma was found at 63% (P=0.0074) among the parents. Weight was significantly higher when the parents themselves were overweight. A lightened workload in physical education lessons at school doubled the risk of obesity (P=0.25), while full exemption increased it by six times (P=0.06). High bodyweight was found in 37% and 31% of children who had received steroid medication and other treatment, respectively (P=0.57).

Conclusion: High bodyweight and physical inactivity worsened the chances of effective asthma treatment, while sport improved it. The rates of physical activity among the surveyed patients were lower than recommended. More focus is needed; paediatricians, school-teachers and parents should pay more attention to the issue when establishing a proper family background for healthier lifestyles.