Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 19

Search results for: Marko Čular

19 Transparency of Audit Firms in Croatia

Authors: Marko Čular

Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to raise general awareness of transparency importance for audit firms and for audit services’ users. This paper analyses transparency of audit firms that audited financial statements of listed companies, for year 2011 and 2012. We use this two years because in the meantime Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants has been adopted. This paper investigates whether transparency reports of audit firms are in accordance with the Croatian Audit Act and whether there is a difference on transparency in observed years. For this paper, quality index of transparency report and financial indicators of audit firms are used to get conclusion about condition of audit firms transparency reporting. Results of our study indicate that audit firms are not fully transparent, looking for both years. Transparency of audit firms in 2012 has improved significantly, compared with transparency in 2011.

Keywords: transparency report, index quality of transparency report, Croatian audit act, code of ethics for professional accountants

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18 The Role and Effectiveness of Audit Committee in Corporate Governance of Credit Institutions

Authors: Tina Vuko, Marija Maretić, Marko Čular

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The aim of this study is to analyze the role and effectiveness of internal mechanism (audit committee) of corporate governance on credit institutions performance in Croatia. Based on research objective, sample of 78 credit institutions listed on Zagreb Stock Exchange, from 2007 to 2012, has been collected and efficiency index of audit committee (EIAC) has been created. Based on the sample and created EIAC, conclusions are as follows: audit committees of credit institutions have medium efficiency, based on EIAC measurement; there is a significant difference in audit committee effectiveness, in observed period; there is no positive relationship between audit committee effectiveness and credit institution performance; there is a significant difference between level of audit committee effectiveness and audit firm type. Future research should contain increased number of elements in EIAC creation and increased sample, for all obligators who need to establish audit committee.

Keywords: corporate governance, audit committee, financial institutions, efficiency index of audit committee

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17 Cryptocurrency-Based Mobile Payments with Near-Field Communication-Enabled Devices

Authors: Marko Niinimaki

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Cryptocurrencies are getting increasingly popular, but very few of them can be conveniently used in daily mobile phone purchases. To solve this problem, we demonstrate how to build a functional prototype of a mobile cryptocurrency-based e-commerce application the communicates with Near-Field Communication (NFC) tags. Using the system, users are able to purchase physical items with an NFC tag that contains an e-commerce URL. The payment is done simply by touching the tag with a mobile device and accepting the payment. Our method is constructive: we describe the design and technologies used in the implementation and evaluate the security and performance of the solution. Our main finding is that the analysis and measurements show that our solution is feasible for e-commerce.

Keywords: cryptocurrency, e-commerce, NFC, mobile devices

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16 Human Errors in IT Services, HFACS Model in Root Cause Categorization

Authors: Kari Saarelainen, Marko Jantti

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IT service trending of root causes of service incidents and problems is an important part of proactive problem management and service improvement. Human error related root causes are an important root cause category also in IT service management, although it’s proportion among root causes is smaller than in the other industries. The research problem in this study is: How root causes of incidents related to human errors should be categorized in an ITSM organization to effectively support service improvement. Categorization based on IT service management processes and based on Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) taxonomy was studied in a case study. HFACS is widely used in human error root cause categorization across many industries. Combining these two categorization models in a two dimensional matrix was found effective, yet impractical for daily work.

Keywords: IT service management, ITIL, incident, problem, HFACS, swiss cheese model

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15 Study of Cavitation Erosion of Pump-Storage Hydro Power Plant Prototype

Authors: Tine Cencič, Marko Hočevar, Brane Širok

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An experimental investigation has been made to detect cavitation in pump–storage hydro power plant prototype suffering from cavitation in pump mode. Vibrations and acoustic emission on the housing of turbine bearing and pressure fluctuations in the draft tube were measured and the corresponding signals have been recorded and analyzed. The analysis was based on the analysis of high-frequency content of measured variables. The pump-storage hydro power plant prototype has been operated at various input loads and Thoma numbers. Several estimators of cavitation were evaluated according to coefficient of determination between Thoma number and cavitation estimators. The best results were achieved with a compound discharge coefficient cavitation estimator. Cavitation estimators were evaluated in several intervals of frequencies. Also, a prediction of cavitation erosion was made in order to choose the appropriate maintenance and repair periods.

Keywords: cavitation erosion, turbine, cavitation measurement, fluid dynamics

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14 An Evaluation of People’s Susceptibility to Phishing Attacks in Nepal and Effectiveness of the Applied Countermeasures

Authors: Sunil Chaudhary, Rajendra Bahadur Thapa, Eleni Berki, Marko Helenius

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The increasing number of Internet and mobile phone users, and essentially those, who use these electronic media to perform online transactions makes Nepal lucrative for phishing attacks. It is one of the reasons behind escalating phishing attacks in the country. Therefore, in this paper we examine various phishing attempts and real scenarios in Nepal to determine the seriousness of the problem. We also want to find out how prepared are the Internet and mobile phone users and how well-equipped are the private sector and government authorities responsible to handle cybercrime in the country. We considered five areas of research study, i.e., legal measures, technical and procedural measures, organizational structure, capacity building and international cooperation. These constitute important factors in cyber security and are recommended by the Global Cyber security Agenda (GCA). On the basis of our findings, we provide essential suggestions to make anti-phishing measures more appropriate to Nepalese State and society.

Keywords: internet banking, mobile banking, e-commerce, phishing, anti-phishing, Nepal

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13 The Continuously Supported Infinity Rail Subjected to a Moving Complex Bogie System

Authors: Vladimir Stojanović, Marko D. Petković

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The vibration of a complex bogie system that moves on along the high order shear deformable beam on a viscoelastic foundation is studied. The complex bogie system has been modeled by elastically connected rigid bars on an identical supports. Elastic coupling between bars is introduced to simulate rigidly or flexibly (transversal or/and rotational) connection. Identical supports are modeled as a system of attached spring and dashpot to the bar on one side and interact with the beam through the concentrated mass on the other side. It is assumed that the masses and the beam are always in contact. New analytically determined critical velocity of the system is presented. It is analyzed the case when the complex bogie system exceeds the minimum phase velocity of waves in the beam when the vibration of the system may become unstable. Effect of an elastic coupling between bars on the stability of the system has been analyzed. The instability regions are found for the complex bogie system by applying the principle of the argument and D-decomposition method.

Keywords: Reddy-Bickford beam, D-decomposition method, principle of argument, critical velocity

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12 Mechanical and Physical Properties of Aluminum Composite Reinforced with Carbon Nano Tube Dispersion via Ultrasonic and Ball Mill Attrition after Sever Plastic Deformation

Authors: Hassan Zare, Mohammad Jahedi, Mohammad Reza Toroghinejad, Mahmoud Meratian, Marko Knezevic

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In this study, the carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced Al matrix nanocomposites were fabricated by ECAP. Equal Channel Angular Pressing (ECAP) process is one of the most important methods for powder densification due to the presence of shear strain. This method samples with variety passes (one, two, four and eight passes) in C route were prepared at room temperature. A few study about metal matrix nanocomposite reinforced carbon nanotube done, the reaction intersection of interface and carbon nanotube cause to reduce the efficiency of nanocomposite. In this paper, we checked mechanical and physical properties of aluminum-CNT composite that manufactured by ECAP when the composite is deformed. The non-agglomerated CNTs were distributed homogeneously with 2% consolidation in the Aluminum matrix. The ECAP process was performed on the both monolithic and composite with distributed CNT samples for 8 passes.

Keywords: powder metallurgy, ball mill attrition, ultrasonic, consolidation

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11 Facility Data Model as Integration and Interoperability Platform

Authors: Nikola Tomasevic, Marko Batic, Sanja Vranes

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Emerging Semantic Web technologies can be seen as the next step in evolution of the intelligent facility management systems. Particularly, this considers increased usage of open source and/or standardized concepts for data classification and semantic interpretation. To deliver such facility management systems, providing the comprehensive integration and interoperability platform in from of the facility data model is a prerequisite. In this paper, one of the possible modelling approaches to provide such integrative facility data model which was based on the ontology modelling concept was presented. Complete ontology development process, starting from the input data acquisition, ontology concepts definition and finally ontology concepts population, was described. At the beginning, the core facility ontology was developed representing the generic facility infrastructure comprised of the common facility concepts relevant from the facility management perspective. To develop the data model of a specific facility infrastructure, first extension and then population of the core facility ontology was performed. For the development of the full-blown facility data models, Malpensa and Fiumicino airports in Italy, two major European air-traffic hubs, were chosen as a test-bed platform. Furthermore, the way how these ontology models supported the integration and interoperability of the overall airport energy management system was analyzed as well.

Keywords: airport ontology, energy management, facility data model, ontology modeling

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10 High School Stem Curriculum and Example of Laboratory Work That Shows How Microcomputers Can Help in Understanding of Physical Concepts

Authors: Jelena Slugan, Ivica Ružić

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We are witnessing the rapid development of technologies that change the world around us. However, curriculums and teaching processes are often slow to adapt to the change; it takes time, money and expertise to implement technology in the classroom. Therefore, the University of Split, Croatia, partnered with local school Marko Marulić High School and created the project "Modern competence in modern high schools" as part of which five different curriculums for STEM areas were developed. One of the curriculums involves combining information technology with physics. The main idea was to teach students how to use different circuits and microcomputers to explore nature and physical phenomena. As a result, using electrical circuits, students are able to recreate in the classroom the phenomena that they observe every day in their environment. So far, high school students had very little opportunity to perform experiments independently, and especially, those physics experiment did not involve ICT. Therefore, this project has a great importance, because the students will finally get a chance to develop themselves in accordance to modern technologies. This paper presents some new methods of teaching physics that will help students to develop experimental skills through the study of deterministic nature of physical laws. Students will learn how to formulate hypotheses, model physical problems using the electronic circuits and evaluate their results. While doing that, they will also acquire useful problem solving skills.

Keywords: ICT in physics, curriculum, laboratory activities, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

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9 The Role of Creative Entrepreneurship in the Development of Croatian Economy

Authors: Marko Kolakovic

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Creative industries are an important sector of growth and development of knowledge economies. They have a positive impact on employment, economic growth, export and the quality of life in the areas where they are developed. Creative sectors include architecture, design, advertising, publishing, music, film, television and radio, video games, visual and performing arts and heritage. Following the positive trends of development of creative industries on the global and European level, this paper analyzes creative industries in general and specific characteristics of creative entrepreneurship. Special focus in this paper is put on the influence of the information communication technology on the development of new creative business models and protection of the intellectual property rights. One part of the paper is oriented on the analysis of the status of creative industries and creative entrepreneurship in Croatia. The main objective of the paper is by using the statistical analysis of creative industries in Croatia and information gained during the interviews with entrepreneurs, to make conclusions about potentials and development of creative industries in Croatia. Creative industries in Croatia are at the beginning of their development and growth strategy still does not exist at the national level. Statistical analysis pointed out that in 2015 creative enterprises made 9% of all enterprises in Croatia, employed 5,5% of employed people and their share in GDP was 4,01%. Croatian creative entrepreneurs are building competitive advantage using their creative resources and creating specific business models. The main obstacles they meet are lack of business experience and impossibility of focusing on the creative activities only. In their business, they use digital technologies and are focused on export. The conclusion is that creative industries in Croatia have development potential, but it is necessary to take adequate measures to use this potential in a right way.

Keywords: creative entrepreneurship, knowledge economy, business models, intellectual property

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8 Ontology based Fault Detection and Diagnosis system Querying and Reasoning examples

Authors: Marko Batic, Nikola Tomasevic, Sanja Vranes

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One of the strongholds in the ubiquitous efforts related to the energy conservation and energy efficiency improvement is represented by the retrofit of high energy consumers in buildings. In general, HVAC systems represent the highest energy consumers in buildings. However they usually suffer from mal-operation and/or malfunction, causing even higher energy consumption than necessary. Various Fault Detection and Diagnosis (FDD) systems can be successfully employed for this purpose, especially when it comes to the application at a single device/unit level. In the case of more complex systems, where multiple devices are operating in the context of the same building, significant energy efficiency improvements can only be achieved through application of comprehensive FDD systems relying on additional higher level knowledge, such as their geographical location, served area, their intra- and inter- system dependencies etc. This paper presents a comprehensive FDD system that relies on the utilization of common knowledge repository that stores all critical information. The discussed system is deployed as a test-bed platform at the two at Fiumicino and Malpensa airports in Italy. This paper aims at presenting advantages of implementation of the knowledge base through the utilization of ontology and offers improved functionalities of such system through examples of typical queries and reasoning that enable derivation of high level energy conservation measures (ECM). Therefore, key SPARQL queries and SWRL rules, based on the two instantiated airport ontologies, are elaborated. The detection of high level irregularities in the operation of airport heating/cooling plants is discussed and estimation of energy savings is reported.

Keywords: airport ontology, knowledge management, ontology modeling, reasoning

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7 Women Entrepreneuship in Croatia: Issues and Policies

Authors: Marko Kolakovic, Mihaela Mikic, Martina Taborin

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Women entrepreneurship is often regarded as the unused economical potential in many countries, including Republic of Croatia. Although women represent a majority in the population, they are still a minority in the field of entrepreneurship and face many challenges in fulfilling their entrepreneurship potential. The reasons are often hided in historical distorted perceptions about value, credibility, competitiveness, responsibility and knowledge which women have, or can have. This is significant for at least two reasons. First, in terms of global economic crisis, the economy needs more quality, more skilled and educated people willing to face entrepreneurial challenges and create new jobs, new opportunities and higher living standards. Second, in the entrepreneurial activity, women finally have a chance to highlight their own abilities, such as knowledge, relentless work, organizational skills, communication and negotiation skills, responsibility, flexibility, etc., in order to insure their economic independence, for a better social position, and to increase confidence and faith in their own abilities. This paper empirically analyses characteristics of women entrepreneurship in Croatia and conducted policies for it improvement. An empirical research was conducted with the goal of discovering real life experiences and attitudes of Croatian women entrepreneurs. Results show that Croatian women entrepreneurs are usually highly educated, have previous work experience and operate in service sector, due to lower need for start-up capital. The biggest obstacle on their entrepreneurial path represents government bureaucracy. Although the number of women entrepreneurs is rising today and the gap between male and women entrepreneurs in Croatia, as well as women entrepreneurship levels lower than the European average, we believe that there is still a long way to reach potential and successful women entrepreneurship development. Research showed that by breaking down the barriers as access to finance, education investments, knowledge, skills and confidence development, women will be able to accomplish more significant and more efficient entrepreneurial outcome.

Keywords: Croatia, policy, SMEs, women entrepreneurial strategy, women entrepreneurship

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6 A Hygrothermal Analysis and Structural Performance of Wood-Frame Wall Systems with Low-Permeance Exterior Insulation

Authors: Marko Spasojevic, Ying Hei Chui, Yuxiang Chen

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Increasing the level of exterior insulation in residential buildings is a popular way for improving the thermal characteristic of building enclosure and reducing heat loss. However, the layout and properties of materials composing the wall have a great effect on moisture accumulation within the wall cavity, long-term durability of a wall as well as the structural performance. A one-dimensional hygrothermal modeling has been performed to investigate moisture condensation risks and the drying capacity of standard 2×4 and 2×6 light wood-frame wall assemblies including exterior low-permeance extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation. The analysis considered two different wall configurations whereby the rigid insulation board was placed either between Oriented Strand Board (OSB) sheathing and the stud or outboard to the structural sheathing. The thickness of the insulation varied between 0 mm and 50 mm and the analysis has been conducted for eight different locations in Canada, covering climate zone 4 through zone 8. Results show that the wall configuration with low-permeance insulation inserted between the stud and OSB sheathing accumulates more moisture within the stud cavity, compared to the assembly with the same insulation placed exterior to the sheathing. On the other hand, OSB moisture contents of the latter configuration were markedly higher. Consequently, the analysis of hygrothermal performance investigated and compared moisture accumulation in both the OSB and stud cavity. To investigate the structural performance of the wall and the effect of soft insulation layer inserted between the sheathing and framing, forty nail connection specimens were tested. Results have shown that both the connection strength and stiffness experience a significant reduction as the insulation thickness increases. These results will be compared with results from a full-scale shear wall tests in order to investigate if the capacity of shear walls with insulated sheathing would experience a similar reduction in structural capacities.

Keywords: hygrothermal analysis, insulated sheathing, moisture performance, nail joints, wood shear wall

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5 Factors Associated with Cytomegalovirus Infection: A Prospective Single Centre Study

Authors: Marko Jankovic, Aleksandra Knezevic, Maja Cupic, Dragana Vujic, Zeljko Zecevic, Borko Gobeljic, Marija Simic, Tanja Jovanovic

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The human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a notorious pathogen in the pediatric transplant setting. Although studies on factors in complicity with CMV infection abound, the role of age, gender, allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT) modality, and underlying disease as regards CMV infection and viral load in children are poorly explored. We examined the significance of various factors related to the risk of CMV infection and viral load in Serbian children and adolescents undergoing alloHSCT. This was a prospective single centre study of thirty two pediatric patients in receipt of alloHSCT for various malignant and non-malignant disorders. Screening for active viral infection was performed by regular weekly monitoring. The Real-Time PCR method was used for CMV DNA detection and quantitation. Statistical analysis was performed using the IBM SPSS Statistics v20 software. Chi-square test was used to evaluate categorical variables. Comparison between scalar and nominal data was done by Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test. Pearson correlation was applied for studying the association between patient age and viral load. CMV was detected in 23 (71.9%) patients. Infection occurred significantly more often (p=0.015) in patients with haploidentical donors. The opposite was noted for matched sibling grafts (p=0.006). The viral load was higher in females (p=0.041) and children in the aftermath of alloHSCT with malignant diseases (p=0.019). There was no significant relationship between the viral infection dynamics and overt medical consequences. This is the first study of risk factors for CMV infection in Serbian pediatric alloHSCT patients. Transplanted patients presented with a high incidence of CMV viremia. The HLA compatibility of donated graft is associated with the frequency of CMV positive events. Age, gender, underlying disease, and medically relevant events were not conducive to occurrences of viremia. Notably, substantial viral burdens were evidenced in females and patients with neoplastic diseases. Studies comprising larger populations are clearly needed to scrutinize current results.

Keywords: allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, children, cytomegalovirus, risk factors, viral load

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4 Computer-Assisted Management of Building Climate and Microgrid with Model Predictive Control

Authors: Vinko Lešić, Mario Vašak, Anita Martinčević, Marko Gulin, Antonio Starčić, Hrvoje Novak

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With 40% of total world energy consumption, building systems are developing into technically complex large energy consumers suitable for application of sophisticated power management approaches to largely increase the energy efficiency and even make them active energy market participants. Centralized control system of building heating and cooling managed by economically-optimal model predictive control shows promising results with estimated 30% of energy efficiency increase. The research is focused on implementation of such a method on a case study performed on two floors of our faculty building with corresponding sensors wireless data acquisition, remote heating/cooling units and central climate controller. Building walls are mathematically modeled with corresponding material types, surface shapes and sizes. Models are then exploited to predict thermal characteristics and changes in different building zones. Exterior influences such as environmental conditions and weather forecast, people behavior and comfort demands are all taken into account for deriving price-optimal climate control. Finally, a DC microgrid with photovoltaics, wind turbine, supercapacitor, batteries and fuel cell stacks is added to make the building a unit capable of active participation in a price-varying energy market. Computational burden of applying model predictive control on such a complex system is relaxed through a hierarchical decomposition of the microgrid and climate control, where the former is designed as higher hierarchical level with pre-calculated price-optimal power flows control, and latter is designed as lower level control responsible to ensure thermal comfort and exploit the optimal supply conditions enabled by microgrid energy flows management. Such an approach is expected to enable the inclusion of more complex building subsystems into consideration in order to further increase the energy efficiency.

Keywords: price-optimal building climate control, Microgrid power flow optimisation, hierarchical model predictive control, energy efficient buildings, energy market participation

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3 The ROADS project: Road Observational Assessment of Driving distractionS

Authors: Marko Gjorgjievski, Bradley Petrisor, Sheila Sprague, Silvia Chuan Li, Bill Ristevski

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Globally, 1.35 million people die, and more than 78 million get injured in road traffic collisions every year. Distracted driving is a huge contributor to these tragedies, and by reducing this dangerous behaviour, we can potentially help decrease these numbers. The first step to curbing distracted driving is to ascertain the scope and magnitude of the problem. The goal of the ROADS project was to determine the naturalistic proportion of distracted drivers in real-time conditions and the specific driving distractions they engage in, using covert observational methods. We observed drivers on the 400 – highway series and the city streetsbetween and in the cities of Hamilton and Toronto, in Ontario, Canada. The observation period was six months, from November 2020 to July 2021. A two-member research team performed covert observations while actively participating in regular traffic in a moving vehicle. We collected data on demographics (age, sex), safety (seatbelt, two-hand driving), driving distractions (in-vehicle, outer-vehicle, and mobile phones), and differences in driving (lane drift, evasive maneuvers, near-crash/crash). Regression analyses were done to determine associations between demographics, situational variables and distracted driving, and differences in driving. There were 1105 drivers that we observed in this study, 536 (48.5%) on the highways and 569 (51.5%) in an urban setting. We identified 381 (34.5%) of the drivers as female and 723 (65.4%) as male (ratio 1.9). The average observation time was 21.2 seconds (SD 11.1, range 6-97).In total, there were 609 (55.1%) distracted drivers, the most common ones being drivers engaging in in-vehicle distractions(n=521, 47.1%). The most common specific distraction was talking with a passenger (n=225, 20.4%). In total, 88 drivers engaged in mobile phone distractions (8.0%). Of these, 63 drivers were observed using a handheld device, 38 (3.4%) of which were visibly manipulating their device, and 25 (2.3%) were actively talking on a handheld mobile phone. There were 25 (2.3%) drivers that exhibited driving differences, 24 (96%) of whom were distracted. Lane drifts were the most common driving difference observed (n=18, 1.6%). This naturalistic data collected covertly and in real-time driving situations likely represents the closest estimate of distracted driving rates on the roads. Sadly, more than half of all the observed drivers and almost allthe drivers that demonstrated differences in driving were distracted. Despite handheld mobile phones being dangerous and illegal, we still observed one in twenty drivers engage in these distractions. These numbers are even more concerning, given that the observations only recorded a short segment of the drivers' trip. This data can be used to educate drivers and develop action plans and policies aimed at the prevention of distracted driving.

Keywords: distracted driving, mobile phones, naturalistic data, traffic safety

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2 Mental Health and Secondary Trauma in Service Providers Working with Refugees

Authors: Marko Živanović, Jovana Bjekić, Maša Vukčević Marković

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Professionals and volunteers involved in refugee protection and support are on a daily basis faced with people who have experienced numerous traumatic experiences and, as such, are subjected to secondary traumatization (ST). The aim of this study was to provide insight into risk factors for ST in helpers working with refugees in Serbia. A total of 175 participants working with refugees fulfilled: Secondary Traumatization Questionnaire, checklist of refugees’ traumatic experiences, Hopkins Symptoms Checklist (HSCL) assessing depression and anxiety symptoms, quality of life questionnaire (MANSA), HEXACO personality inventory, and COPE assessing coping mechanisms. In addition, participants provided information on work-related problems. Qualitative analysis of answers to the question about most difficult part of their job has shown that burnout-related issues are clustered around three recurrent topics that can be considered as the most prominent generators of stress, namely: ‘lack of organization and cooperation’, ‘not been able to do enough’, and ‘hard to take it and to process it’. Factor analysis (Maximum likelihood extraction, Promax rotation) have shown that ST comprises of two correlated factors (r = .533, p < .01), namely Psychological deficits and Intrusions. Results have shown that risk factor for ST could be find in three interrelated sources: 1) work-related problems; 2) personality-related risk factors and 3) clients’ traumatic experiences. Among personality related factors, it was shown that risk factor for Intrusions could be find in – high Emotionality (β = .221, p < .05), and Altruism (β = .322, p < .01), while low Extraversion (β = -.365, p < .01) represents risk factor for Psychological deficits. In addition, usage of maladaptive coping mechanisms –mental disengagement (r = .253, p < .01), behavioral disengagement (r = .274, p < .01), focusing on distress and venting of emotions (r = .220, p < .05), denial (r = .164, p < .05), and substance use (r = .232, p < .01) correlate with Psychological deficits while Intrusions corelate with Mental disengagement (r = .251, p < .01) and denial (r = .183, p < .05). Regarding clients’ traumatic experiences it was shown that both quantity of traumatic events in country of origin (for Deficits r = .226, p < .01; for Intrusions r = .174, p < .05) and in transit (for Deficits r = .288, p < .01), as well as certain content-related features of such experiences (especially experiences which are severely dislocated from ‘everyday reality’) are related to ST. In addition, Psychological deficits and Intrusions have shown to be accompanied by symptoms of depression (r = .760, p < .01; r = .552, p < .01) and anxiety (r = .740, p < .01; r = .447, p < .01) and overall lower life quality (r = -.454, p < .01; r = .256, p < .01). Results indicate that psychological vulnerability of persons who are working with traumatized individuals can be found in certain personality traits, and usage of maladaptive coping mechanisms, which disable one to deal with work-related issues, and to cope with quantity and quality of traumatic experiences they were faced with, affecting ones’ psychological well-being. Acknowledgement: This research was funded by IRC Serbia.

Keywords: mental health, refugees, secondary traumatization, traumatic experiences

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1 Immobilization of Superoxide Dismutase Enzyme on Layered Double Hydroxide Nanoparticles

Authors: Istvan Szilagyi, Marko Pavlovic, Paul Rouster

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Antioxidant enzymes are the most efficient defense systems against reactive oxygen species, which cause severe damage in living organisms and industrial products. However, their supplementation is problematic due to their high sensitivity to the environmental conditions. Immobilization on carrier nanoparticles is a promising research direction towards the improvement of their functional and colloidal stability. In that way, their applications in biomedical treatments and manufacturing processes in the food, textile and cosmetic industry can be extended. The main goal of the present research was to prepare and formulate antioxidant bionanocomposites composed of superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme, anionic clay (layered double hydroxide, LDH) nanoparticle and heparin (HEP) polyelectrolyte. To characterize the structure and the colloidal stability of the obtained compounds in suspension and solid state, electrophoresis, dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, spectrophotometry, thermogravimetry, X-ray diffraction, infrared and fluorescence spectroscopy were used as experimental techniques. LDH-SOD composite was synthesized by enzyme immobilization on the clay particles via electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions, which resulted in a strong adsorption of the SOD on the LDH surface, i.e., no enzyme leakage was observed once the material was suspended in aqueous solutions. However, the LDH-SOD showed only limited resistance against salt-induced aggregation and large irregularly shaped clusters formed during short term interval even at lower ionic strengths. Since sufficiently high colloidal stability is a key requirement in most of the applications mentioned above, the nanocomposite was coated with HEP polyelectrolyte to develop highly stable suspensions of primary LDH-SOD-HEP particles. HEP is a natural anticoagulant with one of the highest negative line charge density among the known macromolecules. The experimental results indicated that it strongly adsorbed on the oppositely charged LDH-SOD surface leading to charge inversion and to the formation of negatively charged LDH-SOD-HEP. The obtained hybrid materials formed stable suspension even under extreme conditions, where classical colloid chemistry theories predict rapid aggregation of the particles and unstable suspensions. Such a stabilization effect originated from electrostatic repulsion between the particles of the same sign of charge as well as from steric repulsion due to the osmotic pressure raised during the overlap of the polyelectrolyte chains adsorbed on the surface. In addition, the SOD enzyme kept its structural and functional integrity during the immobilization and coating processes and hence, the LDH-SOD-HEP bionanocomposite possessed excellent activity in decomposition of superoxide radical anions, as revealed in biochemical test reactions. In conclusion, due to the improved colloidal stability and the good efficiency in scavenging superoxide radical ions, the developed enzymatic system is a promising antioxidant candidate for biomedical or other manufacturing processes, wherever the aim is to decompose reactive oxygen species in suspensions.

Keywords: clay, enzyme, polyelectrolyte, formulation

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