Science and research have been forgotten in Brussels
10. 8. 2020 |
An open letter from Pavel Iványi, CEO of FNUSA-ICRC, published in Saturday's issue of Lidové noviny.
The EU summit addressed in particular the budget for 2021-27 and the so-called recovery fund. Although the subject of the negotiations was a dizzying sum of EUR 1,824 trillion, the results of the summit are a great disappointment for science and research.
It is understandable that the European Commission is empowered to borrow three quarters of a trillion euros on the financial markets, which can be used for follow-up loans and expenditures necessary to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. What is no longer understandable, however, is the fact that only five billion euros have been negotiated in the Horizon Europe framework program, which is one of the carriers of funding for science and research.
The draft budget for the Research and Innovation Framework Program, announced in May (€ 94.4 billion), failed to enforce, with a total of "only" € 80.9 billion allocated to science and research. In Brussels, the symptoms are addressed, not the causes or the possibility of preventing them. At the same time, the field of science and research has a unique potential to solve the cause of current problems. We do not yet know how long it will take us to find the vaccine and how long it will take to vaccinate the population, but we may say that particularly investment in science and research will accelerate it.
In the Czech Republic, approximately two percent of GDP is invested in science and research. It is such a better European average. The prime minister managed to negotiate almost four billion euros more from the EU budget than in the previous period, and one of the three priority areas should be health care. I believe that science, research and innovation will not be forgotten, at least at national level.
I call on our MEPs to support efforts to address the causes of the current crisis and to increase funding for science and research.
Pavel Iványi, CEO of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno
Research as a path towards a healthy brain and mind
5. 8. 2020 |
MUDr. Rastislav Šumec, Ph.D., is a vice-head of the Department of Psychology and Psychosomatics of the Medical Faculty of Masaryk University in Brno, a postdoctoral researcher in the Dementia research team of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) and a doctor of the Cognitive Outpatient Clinic of the 1st Department of Neurology FNUSA and MF MU.
Above all, however, he is a nice young man who recently managed to succesfully gain the attestation of competence in neurology, and on this occasion we asked him a few questions.
1. What led you to the research, was it a child's wish or something else?
I've always been interested in unanswered questions about the human brain and mind. I was interested in how our knowledge in this field could be used to improve the quality of life and health in general. At the research itself, I was fascinated by how it systematically, persistently and with less bias brings us closer to the truth about reality.
2. As part of your research at FNUSA-ICRC, you were on an internship at Bangor University in Wales, what did it give you?
The benefits such as establishing foreign cooperation, the opportunity to see and participate in the day-to-day running of a foreign research institution, or a healthy change in the environment and work stereotypes can certainly not be overlooked. However, the most important benefit for me was the acquisition of key knowledge from neuroscience and psychological research, which I could then meaningfully use in our research team in Brno. Thanks to the internship, for the first time I was not only inspired by research, but I was also able to bring inspiration for research in the Czech Republic. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the kind approach of my colleagues in Wales, who paid a lot of attention to me, for which I thank them very much.
3. When you compare the position of researcher and doctor - how are they similar and how are they different?
I think that both these professions should be motivated by a sincere intention to improve the quality of life. Whether at the level of the individual or on a society-wide scale. At the same time, both are so unpredictable that they force a person to be able to step out of his ego and not be seduced by the idea that we are infallible due to previous experience. At the same time, both involve an enormous amount of administration. :)
The main difference I see is that in clinical practice, one looks into the eyes of someone whom is helping, while the researcher works in far greater uncertainty and anonymity. He does not know whether his work will be beneficial for the world and what specific form this benefit will take. Unlike a doctor, he moves in a very exciting field of exploration, where he discovers the unknown, but on the other hand he has to accept that paths that no one has yet set out are rarely "user-friendly".
4. Congratulations on a successful attestation. What are your plans for the future?
Thank you! My plans are research, clinical and academic. At FNUSA-ICRC, I will focus on neurodegenerative diseases and the search for new ways to alleviate their symptoms. As part of my clinical practice, I will prescribe in the Cognitive Outpatient Clinic of the 1st Department of Neurology FNUSA and MF MU. And at the Department of Psychology and Psychosomatics at the Faculty of Medicine, MU, within the Mindfulness Research and Practice Network of Masaryk University, I will address the question of how we can use our own exploration of the mind to work and study in a more balanced and present way, with integrity.
High levels of triglycerides endanger cardiovascular health
4. 8. 2020 |.
Mgr. Iuliia Pavlovska is a doctoral student at Masaryk University in Brno and also a valid member of the research team of Kardiovize Brno 2030 of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC). Her research focuses on the individual components of the metabolic syndrome and their effect on cardiovascular health.
She devoted her last article to the importance of controlling the level of triglycerides in the blood, which should not be higher than 1.7 mmol / l in the body. "The impulse came from the topic of my doctoral thesis, which deals with the connection between the metabolic syndrome and the problem of arterial stiffness," described Mgr. Pavlovska and added: "When searching for professional articles, I noticed that they are describing infulence of triglycerides and abdominal obesity at least, so I focused on them."
Samples of participants in this unique project were analyzed using state-of-the-art equipment available to the laboratories of the Kardiovize Brno 2030 research team. "There were data from the years 2013 - 2016, without this database I would be looking for a similar number of patients for years," emphasized Mgr. Pavlovska. The analysis examined the relationship between high triglycerides and arterial stiffness using the CAVI (Cardio‑ Ankle Vascular Index; used to determine arterial stiffness, an indicator independent of blood pressure).
In close collaboration with researchers from the Mayo Clinic, high triglyceride levels have been shown to be associated with the early stages of cardiovascular disease. This information, together with targeted treatment for hypertriglyceridemia, could further contribute to reducing the number of cardiovascular diseases..
ICRC Academy - we'll get you to top science
15. 7. 2020 |
The preparations of the ICRC Academy do not stop even during the holidays. On the contrary, the organizers launched the registration of participants for this year. "We welcome all high school and university students who are attracted to the field of clinical research," said Martin Vašek, coordinator of the ICRC Academy.
And what can participants look forward to? Lectures, excursions, seminars or internships. Most of the activities will take place on the weekend of November 20-22, which will be conceived as one large scientific seminar with networking and team competition.
"The Academy also offers the opportunity to meet interesting personalities from the world of science, get acquainted with their stories, make new contacts and most importantly - get an idea of your own career," added Martin Vašek, " the main and most important benefit for participants will be the opportunity to get a several-month internship in our research teams."
Fifty projects registered in AZV
10. 7. 2020 |
Experts from the St. Anne's University Hospital in Brno prepared fifty projects for this year´s public tender of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic to support applied health research (so-called AZV projects). "It is a record number and, for example, compared to 2018, it is almost a twofold increase in the number of applications submitted," said Mgr. Petra Hrstková from the Grant Support Center of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), adding: "It is a respectable performance if we realize that the projects were prepared by doctors and researchers with a high workload."
Of the total number, twenty-three projects are under the heading of FNUSA-ICRC, twenty-seven projects were submitted by colleagues from the St. Anne's University Hospital in Brno. The total amount of funds required is almost two hundred and thirty million crowns, which could support research not only in the field of epilepsy, oncology or cardiovascular problems, but also the development of biocompatible nanoparticles for drug delivery, 3D imaging of the body surface by photogrammetric method or research of a new treatment method of liver diseases.
The results of the public tender will be published on February 19, 2021.
We participated in an article in Nature magazine
1. 7. 2020 |
Dr. Juan Pablo Gonzalez-Rivas, senior researcher of the Kardiovize 2030 project team of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) is a member of the international network of scientists NCD-RisC dealing with the risk of noncommunicable diseases. The last article of this group also got into the prestigious magazine Nature.
Dr. Gonzalez-Rivas is a co-author of an article entitled "Repositioning of the global epicenter of non-optimal cholesterol" which points to an interesting fact. High level of non-HDL cholesterol (one of the indicators of cardiovascular risk contained in all types of lipoproteins except HDL) was a main risk factor responsible for 3.9 million deaths in 2017. The international network of researchers NCD-RisC, presenting data from more than 200 countries with more than 129 million participants and regularly informs about trends in cardiovascular health, has come up with surprising information. "Since 1980, we have been monitoring the shift of this risk factor from developed countries in Western Europe, especially from the Scandinavian countries and from Central and Eastern Europe to Asia," said Juan Pablo Gonzalez-Rivas. "High levels of non-HDL cholesterol, also called bad cholesterol, have been one of the determinants of risk in the so called western way of life, and the epicenter is now moving to East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific."
This transition is caused by two main factors. "The first, and more importantly, is a change in eating habits in the highly developed countries of Europe. We are seeing a shift in consumption from unhealthy fats (saturated and hydrogenated fats found mainly in confectionery, pastries, pizza, etc.) to healthier, unsaturated ones, which contains olive oil, nuts, avocados and vegetable oils in general. This improvement was also supported in the countries of the European Union by legislation, specifically by reducing the amount of industrially produced hydrogenated fats, so-called trans fats, in food. As of April 24, 2019, it can only be two grams per 100 grams of fat in food, "said Dr. Gonzalez-Rivas. The second factor is the widespread use of statins, a group of drugs that help with high cholesterol. The authors of the article state that similar measures would now be needed in the most affected countries in East and Southeast Asia.
An article can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2338-1