Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 54430

24
20747
Model-Based Automotive Partitioning and Mapping for Embedded Multicore Systems
Abstract:
This paper introduces novel approaches to partitioning and mapping in terms of model-based embedded multicore system engineering and further discusses benefits, industrial relevance and features in common with existing approaches. In order to assess and evaluate results, both approaches have been applied to a real industrial application as well as to various prototypical demonstrative applications, that have been developed and implemented for different purposes. Evaluations show, that such applications improve significantly according to performance, energy efficiency, meeting timing constraints and covering maintaining issues by using the AMALTHEA platform and the implemented approaches. Further- more, the model-based design provides an open, expandable, platform independent and scalable exchange format between OEMs, suppliers and developers on different levels. Our proposed mechanisms provide meaningful multicore system utilization since load balancing by means of partitioning and mapping is effectively performed with regard to the modeled systems including hardware, software, operating system, scheduling, constraints, configuration and more data.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
23
98288
The Education System of Geriatric Care Nurses in Poland
Abstract:
Introduction: Older people have many health and psychosocial problems. It is necessary to have a good organization of health care for elderly people. This is especially true of the organization of professional nursing care. The method was based on a diagnostic survey based on the analysis of documentation of the National Council of Nurses and Midwives Schools, the Ministry of Health and the Pomeranian Medical University. The work discusses the education system of nurses in Poland in the pre- and post-graduate field, giving qualifications to work with the elderly patients and the legal bases regulating the functioning of nurses in Poland. The current structure of employment of nurses in various geriatric patient care systems in Poland, including demographic variables, has been presented. Conclusions: 1. Nurse education programmes in Poland are too extensive. 2. The time necessary to obtain a geriatric nurse's qualifications is definitely too long. 3. It is necessary to verify the effects of education in postgraduate education because many of them were implemented at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
22
98292
Sleep Disturbances and Depressive Symptoms in Patients with Cancer
Abstract:
Introduction and aim of research: Cancer is a chronic disease which, in extreme cases, leads to irreversible health effects. It involves the abnormal and excessive growth of genetically altered cells. In the case of cancerous changes, the age of a person is not as important as hereditary, genetic or environmental factors such as stimulants, poor diet, harmful working conditions or stress. Understanding the principles, scope, and possibilities of treatment methods leads to a significant improvement in health in approximately 30% of patients with cancer. The aim of the research was to assess the biopsychosocial functioning of patients with cancer. Materials and methods: The research was carried out based on a survey method, respecting the principle of anonymity. The study involved 80 participants who were diagnosed with cancer and were undergoing treatment. Three types of questionnaires were used: author's own, Athens Insomnia Scale and Beck Depression Inventory. Results and conclusions: The average respondent was a 57-year-old man living in a big city, with secondary education, married. In addition, he underwent between 1 and 3 chemotherapy treatments and, as for complications, he declared problems with insomnia and mild depressive symptoms. The depressive symptoms were related to the amount of chemotherapy.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
21
48385
Personnel Marketing as Perceived by HR Managers in Czech Republic: Results of a Qualitative Research Study
Abstract:
The article is devoted to the area of personnel marketing. A comprehensive review of scientific literature and articles published predominantly in personnel-oriented journals was carried out, followed by a qualitative exploratory research with the aim to explore and explain the perception of personnel marketing. Due to the lack of research in this field in Czech Republic, we have focused on Czech HR managers, more specifically, on how they understand the tasks of personnel marketing, which tools they use and whether the companies they work for try to be a preferred employer. The answers from our respondents were used to help us determine what is important within this field. All of the respondents strive to be a preferred employer and try to achieve it by using an extensive range of marketing tools. The most frequently used tools are advertising, job fairs presentations, employee care and employer brand promotion.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
20
60583
Teachers and Innovations in Information and Communication Technology
Abstract:
This article introduces research focused on elementary school teachers’ approach to innovations in ICT. The diffusion of innovations theory, which was written by E. M. Rogers, captures the processes of innovation adoption. The research method derived from this theory and the Rogers’ questionnaire focused on the diffusion of innovations was used as the basic research method. The research sample consisted of elementary school teachers. The comparison of results with the Rogers’ results shows that among the teachers in the research sample the so-called early majority, as well as the overall division of the data, was rather central (early adopter, early majority, and later majority). The teachers very rarely appeared on the edge positions (innovator, laggard). The obtained results can be applied to teaching practice and used especially in the implementation of new technologies and techniques into the educational process.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
19
98285
Loneliness of Older People in the Practice of an Environmental-Family Nurse
Abstract:
Introduction: Man is a social being, and at the base of his existence are interpersonal relations. Violation of these relationships causes various disorders. One of them is loneliness, resulting from broken ties of all kinds. Loneliness is a difficult phenomenon to define because the causes of loneliness are different. It can be considered in the social, psychological and spiritual aspects. Loneliness can be real or imaginary. And consequently, it can be creative or destructive. Older people are often ill with reduced physical and social abilities. They can escape into loneliness due to the lack of support from the nearest and proper environmental institutions. An important role in caring for older people in overcoming loneliness is played by the environmental and family nurse. The aim of the study was to assess the influence of the environmental and family nurse on overcoming loneliness by the elderly. Among the analysed factors the attention was paid to the loneliness of older people in the social, mental and spiritual dimensions. In addition, the level of social support which the respondents expect and the impact of loneliness on the quality of life of seniors was assessed. Material and Methods: The study covered a 210-seated senior population. The study used the method of a diagnostic survey with the own questionnaire technique, ISSB/Social Support Questionnaire/, WHOQL-BREF (Shortened Version of Life Quality Assessment Questionnaire). Conclusions: The collected material allowed to conclude that the environmental and family nurse not only participates in the process of treating older people but her concern for the mentor in the holistic dimension helps in overcoming loneliness in the physical, mental and spiritual dimensions. The quality of life of older people depends on their loneliness.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
18
65755
Anatomy of the Human Mitral Valve Leaflets: Implications for Transcatheter and Surgical Mitral Valve Repair Techniques
Abstract:
Introduction: Rapid development of the surgical and less-invasive percutaneous mitral valve repair procedures greatly increase the interest of the mitral valve anatomy. The aim of this study was to characterize morphological variability of the mitral valve leaflets and to provide the size of their particular parts. Materials and Methods: In the study, we included 200 autopsied human hearts from Caucasian individuals (25% females) with mean age 47.5 (±17.9) without any valvular diseases. The morphology of the mitral valve was evaluated. The intercommissural and aorto-mural diameters of the mitral annulus were measured. All leaflets and their scallops were identified. The base and the height of the posteromedial commissure (PM-C), anterolateral commissure (AL-C), anterior leaflet (AL) and posterior leaflet (PL) with their scallops were measured. Results: The intercommissural diameter was 28.0±4.8 mm, the aorto-mural diameter 19.7±4.8 mm, circumference of the mitral annulus 89.9±12.6 mm and the area of the mitral valve 485.4±171.4 mm2. Classical mitral valves (AL+AL-C+PL(P1,P2,P3)+PM-C) were found in 141 (70.5%) specimens. In classical type, the mean AL base and height were 30.8±4.9 mm and 20.6±4.2 mm, while mean PL base and height 45.1±8.2 mm 12.9±2.8 mm respectively. The mean ratio of the AL base to PL base was 0.7±0.2. Variations in PL were found in 55 (27.5%) and in AL in 5 (2.5%) hearts. The most common variations were: valve with one accessory scallop (AcS) between P3 and PM-C (7%); AcS between P1 and AL-C (4%); connections of P2 and P3 scallops (4%); connections of P1 and P2 scallops (3%); AcS in AL (2.5%). All AcS were smaller than the main PL scallops. The mean intertrigonal distance was 21.9±3.8 mm. Conclusions: In all cases, the mitral valve is built by two main leaflets with possible variants in secondary to leaflets scallops (29.5%). The variations are largely associated with PL and are mostly related to the presence of AcS. Anatomically the AL is not divided into scallops, and it occupies 34.5% of the mitral annulus circumference. Understanding the anatomy of the mitral valve leaflets helps to planning and performing mitral valve repair procedures.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
17
10728
Microwave Assisted Synthesis of Ag/ZnO Sub-Microparticles Deposited on Various Cellulose Surfaces
Abstract:
Zinc oxide sub-micro particles and metallic silver nano particles (Ag/ZnO) were deposited on micro crystalline cellulose surface by a fast, simple and environmentally friendly one-pot microwave assisted solvo thermal synthesis in an open vessel system equipped with an external reflux cooler. In order to increase the interaction between the surface of cellulose and the precipitated Ag/ZnO particles, oxidized form of cellulose (cellulose dialdehyde, DAC) prepared by periodate oxidation of micro crystalline cellulose was added to the reaction mixture of Ag/ZnO particle precursors and untreated micro crystalline cellulose. The structure and morphology of prepared hybrid powder materials were analysed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy dispersive analysis (EDX), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and nitrogen absorption method (BET). Microscopic analysis of the prepared materials treated by ultra-sonication showed that Ag/ZnO particles deposited on the cellulose/DAC sample exhibit increased adhesion to the surface of the cellulose substrate which can be explained by the DAC adhesive effect in comparison with the material prepared without DAC addition.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
16
96811
Metal-Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) Process Investigation for Co Thin Film as a TSV Alternative Seed Layer
Abstract:
This investigation aims to develop the feasible and qualitative process parameters for the thin films fabrication into ultra-large through-silicon-vias (TSVs) as vertical interconnections. The focus of the study is on TSV metallization and its challenges employing new materials for the purpose of rapid signal propagation in the microsystems technology. Cobalt metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (Co-MOCVD) process enables manufacturing an adhesive and excellent conformal ultra-thin film all the way through TSVs in comparison with the conventional non-conformal physical vapor deposition (PVD) process of copper (Cu) seed layer. Therefore, this process provides a Cu seed-free layer which is capable of direct Cu electrochemical deposition (Cu-ECD) on top of it. The main challenge of this metallization module is to achieve the proper alternative seed layer with less roughness, sheet resistance and granular organic contamination (e.g. carbon) which intensify the Co corrosion under the influence of Cu electrolyte.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
15
47441
The Effectiveness of Herbal Capsules Ethanol Extract of Celery (Apium graveolens L.) and Bulb of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) in Lowering Total Cholesterol Levels in Patients with Hypercholesterolemia
Abstract:
Hypercholesterolemia is one of the major risk factors that can trigger the development of cardiovascular disease, especially coronary heart disease. One of the traditional drugs used for hypercholesterolemia is a combination of herbs celery (Apium graveolens) and garlic (Allium sativum). This study aimed to investigate the effects of the extract on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Subjects consisted of patients with traditional medicine clinic in Jakarta. Each subject received treatment capsules containing herbal extract and placebo capsules. On the 44 subjects, the lipid profile was examined blood levels of total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Paired two-tailed t-test was used for the difference between lipid profile of the therapy group and the placebo group. The changes in the lipid profile between the treatment groups and the placebo group for total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides was 14,82 ± 6,946;1.45 ± 2,945;6,98 ± 8,105;2,48 ± 6,504 mg/dL. The herbal extract decrease blood cholesterol and LDL levels significantly (P < 0.05).
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
14
46195
Human LACE1 Functions Pro-Apoptotic and Interacts with Mitochondrial YME1L Protease
Abstract:
Cellular function depends on mitochondrial function and integrity that is therefore maintained by several classes of proteins possessing chaperone and/or proteolytic activities. In this work, we focused on characterization of LACE1 (lactation elevated 1) function in mitochondrial protein homeostasis maintenance. LACE1 is the human homologue of yeast mitochondrial Afg1 ATPase, a member of SEC18-NSF, PAS1, CDC48-VCP, TBP family. Yeast Afg1 was shown to be involved in mitochondrial complex IV biogenesis, and based on its similarity with CDC48 (p97/VCP) it was suggested to facilitate extraction of polytopic membrane proteins. Here we show that LACE1, which is a mitochondrial integral membrane protein, exists as part of three complexes of approx. 140, 400 and 500 kDa and is essential for maintenance of fused mitochondrial reticulum and lamellar cristae morphology. Using affinity purification of LACE1-FLAG expressed in LACE1 knockdown background we show that the protein physically interacts with mitochondrial inner membrane protease YME1L. We further show that human LACE1 exhibits significant pro-apoptotic activity and that the protein is required for normal function of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Thus, our work establishes LACE1 as a novel factor with the crucial role in mitochondrial homeostasis maintenance.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
13
99644
Heterodimetallic Ferrocenyl Dithiophosphonate Complexes of Nickel(II), Zinc(II) and Cadmium(II) as High Efficiency Co-Sensitizers in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Abstract:
The formation, characterization, and dye-sensitized solar cell application of nickel(II), zinc(II) and cadmium(II) ferrocenyl dithiophosphonate complexes were investigated. The multidentate monoanionic ligand [S₂PFc(OH)]¯ (L1) was synthesized from the reaction between ferrocenyl Lawesson’s reagent, [FcP(=S)μ-S]₂ (FcLR), (Fc = ferrocenyl) and water. Ligand L1 could potentially coordinate to metal centers through the S, S’ and O donor atoms. The reaction between metal salt precursors and L1 produced a Ni(II) complex of the type [Ni{S₂P(Fc)(OH)}₂] (1) (molar ratio 1:2), a tetranickel (II) complex of the type [Ni₂{S₂OP(Fc)}₂]₂ (2) (molar ratio (1:1), as well as a Zn(II) complex [Zn{S₂P(Fc)(OH)}₂]₂ (3), and a Cd(II) complex [Cd{S₂P(Fc)(OH)}₂]₂ (4). Complexes 1-4 were characterized by 1H and 31P NMR and FT-IR, and complexes 1 and 2 were additionally analysed by X-Ray crystallography. After co-sensitization, the DSSCs were characterized using UV-Vis, cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and photovoltaic measurements (I-V curves). Overall finding shows that co-sensitization of our compounds with ruthenium dye N719 resulted in a better overall solar conversion efficiency than only pure N719 dye under the same experimental conditions. In conclusion, we report the first examples of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) co-sensitized with ferrocenyl dithiophosphonate complexes.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
12
7531
Mineral Nitrogen Retention, Nitrogen Availability and Plant Growth in the Soil Influenced by Addition of Organic and Mineral Fertilizers: Lysimetric Experiment
Abstract:
Compost can influence soil fertility and plant health. At the same time compost can play an important role in the nitrogen cycle and it can influence leaching of mineral nitrogen from soil to underground water. This paper deals with the influence of compost addition and mineral nitrogen fertilizer on leaching of mineral nitrogen, nitrogen availability in microbial biomass and plant biomass production in the lysimetric experiment. Twenty-one lysimeters were filed with topsoil and subsoil collected in the area of protection zone of underground source of drinking water - Březová nad Svitavou. The highest leaching of mineral nitrogen was detected in the variant fertilized only mineral nitrogen fertilizer (624.58 mg m-2), the lowest leaching was recorded in the variant with high addition of compost (315.51 mg m-2). On the other hand, losses of mineral nitrogen are not in connection with the losses of available form of nitrogen in microbial biomass. Because loss of mineral nitrogen was detected in variant with the least change in the availability of N in microbial biomass. The leaching of mineral nitrogen, yields as well as the results concerning nitrogen availability from the first year of long term experiment suggest that compost can positive influence the leaching of nitrogen into underground water.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
11
67358
Structural, Magnetic, Dielectric and Electrical Properties of Gd3+ Doped Cobalt Ferrite Nanoparticles
Abstract:
In this work, CoFe₂₋ₓGdₓO₄ (x=0.00, 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, 0.20) spinel ferrite nanoparticles are synthesized by sonochemical method. The structural properties and cation distribution are investigated using X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Raman Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The morphology and elemental analysis are screened using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, respectively. The particle size measured by FE-SEM and XRD analysis confirm the formation of nanoparticles in the range of 7-10 nm. The electrical properties show that the Gd³⁺ doped cobalt ferrite (CoFe₂₋ₓGdₓO₄; x= 0.20) exhibit enhanced dielectric constant (277 at 100 Hz) and ac conductivity (20.17 x 10⁻⁹ S/cm at 100 Hz). The complex impedance measurement study reveals that as Gd³⁺ doping concentration increases, the impedance Z’ and Z’ ’ decreases. The influence of Gd³⁺ doping in cobalt ferrite nanoparticles on the magnetic property is examined by using vibrating sample magnetometer. Magnetic property measurement reveal that the coercivity decreases with Gd³⁺ substitution from 234.32 Oe (x=0.00) to 12.60 Oe (x=0.05) and further increases from 12.60 Oe (x=0.05) to 68.62 Oe (x=0.20). The saturation magnetization decreases with Gd³⁺ substitution from 40.19 emu/g (x=0.00) to 21.58 emu/g (x=0.20). This decrease follows the three-sublattice model suggested by Yafet-Kittel (Y-K). The Y-K angle increases with the increase of Gd³⁺ doping in cobalt ferrite nanoparticles.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
10
57632
Structural and Magnetic Properties of CoFe2O4:Nd3+/Dy3+/Pr3+/Gd3+ Nanoparticles Synthesized by Starch-Assisted Sol-Gel Auto-Combustion Method and Annealing Effect
Abstract:
In this work, we investigated the structural and magnetic properties of CoFe2O4:Nd3+/Dy3+/Pr3+/Gd3+ nanoparticles synthesized by starch-assisted sol-gel combustion method. X-ray diffraction pattern confirmed the formation of cubic spinel structure of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) doped CoFe2O4 spinel ferrite nanoparticles. Raman and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy study also confirmed cubic spinel structure of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles. The field emission scanning electron microscopy study revealed the effect of annealing temperature on size of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles and particles were in the range of 10-100 nm. The magnetic properties of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles were investigated by using vibrating sample magnetometer. The variation in saturation magnetization, coercivity and remanent magnetization with annealing temperature/ particle size of rare-earth ions (Nd3+, Dy3+, Pr3+, Gd3+) substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles was observed. Acknowledgment: This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic – Program NPU I (LO1504).
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
9
7657
Effects of Drought on Microbial Activity in Rhizosphere, Soil Hydrophobicity and Leaching of Mineral Nitrogen from Arable Soil Depending on Method of Fertilization
Abstract:
This work presents the first results from the long-term laboratory experiment dealing with impact of drought on soil properties. Three groups of the treatment (A, B and C) with different regime of irrigation were prepared. The soil water content was maintained at 70 % of soil water holding capacity in group A, at 40 % in group B. In group C, soil water regime was maintained in the range of wilting point. Each group of the experiment was divided into three variants (A1 = B1, C1; A2 = B2, C2 etc.) with three repetitions: Variants A1 (B1, C1) were controls without addition of another fertilizer. Variants A2 (B2, C2) were fertilized with mineral nitrogen fertilizer DAM 390 (0.140 Mg of N per ha) and variants A3 (B3, C3) contained 45 g of Cp per a pot. The significant differences (ANOVA, P< 0.05) in the leaching of mineral nitrogen and values of saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) were found. The highest values of Ksat were found in variants (within each group) with addition of compost (A3, B3, C3). Conversely, the lowest values of Ksat were found in variants with addition of mineral nitrogen. Low values of Ksat indicate an increased level of hydrophobicity in individual groups of the experiment. Moreover, all variants with compost addition showed lower amount of mineral nitrogen leaching and high level of microbial activity than variants without. This decrease of mineral nitrogen leaching was about 200 % in comparison with the control variant and about 300 % with variant, where mineral nitrogen was added. Based on these results, we can conclude that changes of soil water content directly have impact on microbial activity, soil hydrophobicity and loss of mineral nitrogen from the soil.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
8
67412
Description of the Process Which Determine the Criterion Validity of Semi-Structured Interview PARA-SCI.CZ
Abstract:
The people with spinal cord injury are one of the least sport active members of our society. Their hypoactivity is determined by primary injury, i.e., the loss of motor function, the injured part of the body is connected with health complications and social handicap. Study performs one part of the standardization process of semi-structured interview PARA-SCI.CZ (Czech version of the Physical Activity Recall Assessment for People with Spinal Cord Injury), which measures the type, frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity of people with spinal cord injury. The study focused on persons with paraplegia who use a wheelchair as their primary mode of mobility. The aim of this study was to perform a process to determine the criterion validity of PARA-SCI.CZ. The actual physical activity of wheelchair users was monitored during three days by using accelerometers Actigraph GT3X fixed on the non-dominant wrist, and semi-structured interview PARA-SCI.CZ. During the PARA-SCI.CZ interview, participants were asked to recall activities they had done over the past 3 days, starting with the previous day. PARA-SCI.CZ captured frequency, duration, and intensity (low, moderate, and heavy) of two categories of physical activity (leisure time physical activity and activities of a usual day). Accelerometer Actigraph GT3X captured duration and intensity (low and moderate + heavy) of physical activity during three days and nights. The study presented three potential recalculations of measured data. Standardization process of PARA-SCI.CZ is essential to critically approach issues of health and active lifestyle of persons with spinal cord injury in the Czech Republic. Standardized PARA-SCI.CZ can be used in practice by physiotherapists and sports pedagogues from the field of adapted physical activities.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
7
53025
Predicting Recessions with Bivariate Dynamic Probit Model: The Czech and German Case
Abstract:
Recession of an economy has a profound negative effect on all involved stakeholders. It follows that timely prediction of recessions has been of utmost interest both in the theoretical research and in practical macroeconomic modelling. Current mainstream of recession prediction is based on standard OLS models of continuous GDP using macroeconomic data. This approach is not suitable for two reasons: the standard continuous models are proving to be obsolete and the macroeconomic data are unreliable, often revised many years retroactively. The aim of the paper is to explore a different branch of recession forecasting research theory and verify the findings on real data of the Czech Republic and Germany. In the paper, the authors present a family of discrete choice probit models with parameters estimated by the method of maximum likelihood. In the basic form, the probits model a univariate series of recessions and expansions in the economic cycle for a given country. The majority of the paper deals with more complex model structures, namely dynamic and bivariate extensions. The dynamic structure models the autoregressive nature of recessions, taking into consideration previous economic activity to predict the development in subsequent periods. Bivariate extensions utilize information from a foreign economy by incorporating correlation of error terms and thus modelling the dependencies of the two countries. Bivariate models predict a bivariate time series of economic states in both economies and thus enhance the predictive performance. A vital enabler of timely and successful recession forecasting are reliable and readily available data. Leading indicators, namely the yield curve and the stock market indices, represent an ideal data base, as the pieces of information is available in advance and do not undergo any retroactive revisions. As importantly, the combination of yield curve and stock market indices reflect a range of macroeconomic and financial market investors’ trends which influence the economic cycle. These theoretical approaches are applied on real data of Czech Republic and Germany. Two models for each country were identified – each for in-sample and out-of-sample predictive purposes. All four followed a bivariate structure, while three contained a dynamic component.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
6
55712
The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on the Performance of Czech Industrial Enterprises
Abstract:
The global financial crisis that erupted in 2008 is associated mainly with the debt crisis. It quickly spread globally through financial markets, international banks and trade links, and affected many economic sectors. Measured by the index of the year-on-year change in GDP and industrial production, the consequences of the global financial crisis manifested themselves with some delay also in the Czech economy. This can be considered a result of the overwhelming export orientation of Czech industrial enterprises. These events offer an important opportunity to study how financial and macroeconomic instability affects corporate performance. Corporate performance factors have long been given considerable attention. It is therefore reasonable to ask whether the findings published in the past are also valid in the times of economic instability and subsequent recession. The decisive factor in effective corporate performance measurement is the existence of an appropriate system of indicators that are able to assess progress in achieving corporate goals. Performance measures may be based on non-financial as well as on financial information. In this paper, financial indicators are used in combination with other characteristics, such as the firm size and ownership structure. Financial performance is evaluated based on traditional performance indicators, namely, return on equity and return on assets, supplemented with indebtedness and current liquidity indices. As investments are a very important factor in corporate performance, their trends and importance were also investigated by looking at the ratio of investments to previous year’s sales and the rate of reinvested earnings. In addition to traditional financial performance indicators, the Economic Value Added was also used. Data used in the research were obtained from a questionnaire survey administered in industrial enterprises in the Czech Republic and from AMADEUS (Analyse Major Database from European Sources), from which accounting data of companies were obtained. Respondents were members of the companies’ senior management. Research results unequivocally confirmed that corporate performance dropped significantly in the 2010-2012 period, which can be considered a result of the global financial crisis and a subsequent economic recession. It was reflected mainly in the decreasing values of profitability indicators and the Economic Value Added. Although the total year-on-year indebtedness declined, intercompany indebtedness increased. This can be considered a result of impeded access of companies to bank loans due to the credit crunch. Comparison of the results obtained with the conclusions of previous research on a similar topic showed that the assumption that firms under foreign control achieved higher performance during the period investigated was not confirmed.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
5
61810
Social and Economic Aspects of Unlikely but Still Possible Welfare to Work Transitions from Long-Term Unemployed
Abstract:
In Germany, during the past years there constantly are about one million long term unemployed who did not benefit from the prospering labor market while most short term unemployed did. Instead, they are continuously dependent on welfare and sometimes precarious short-term employment, experiencing work poverty. Long term unemployment thus turns into a main obstacle to regular employment, especially if accompanied by other impediments such as low level education (school/vocational), poor health (especially chronical illness), advanced age (older than fifty), immigrant status, motherhood or engagement in care for other relatives. Almost two thirds of all welfare recipients have multiple impediments which hinder a successful transition from welfare back to sustainable and sufficient employment. Hiring them is often considered as an investment too risky for employers. Therefore formal application schemes based on formal qualification certificates and vocational biographies might reduce employers’ risks but at the same time are not helpful for long-term unemployed and welfare recipients. The panel survey ‘Labor market and social security’ (PASS; ~15,000 respondents in ~10,000 households), carried out by the Institute of Employment Research (the research institute of the German Federal Labor Agency), shows that their chance to get back to work tends to fall to nil. Only 66 cases of such unlikely transitions could be observed. In a sequential explanatory mixed-method study, the very scarce ‘success stories’ of unlikely transitions from long term unemployment to work were explored by qualitative inquiry – in-depth interviews with a focus on biography accompanied by qualitative network techniques in order to get a more detailed insight of relevant actors involved in the processes which promote the transition from being a welfare recipient to work. There is strong evidence that sustainable transitions are influenced by biographical resources like habits of network use, a set of informal skills and particularly a resilient way of dealing with obstacles, combined with contextual factors rather than by job-placement procedures promoted by Job-Centers according to activation rules or by following formal paths of application. On the employer’s side small and medium-sized enterprises are often found to give job opportunities to a wider variety of applicants, often based on a slow but steadily increasing relationship leading to employment. According to these results it is possible to show and discuss some limitations of (German) activation policies targeting welfare dependency and long-term unemployment. Based on these findings, indications for more supportive small scale measures in the field of labor-market policies are suggested to help long-term unemployed with multiple impediments to overcome their situation.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
4
55041
Threats to the Business Value: The Case of Mechanical Engineering Companies in the Czech Republic
Abstract:
Successful achievement of strategic goals requires an effective performance management system, i.e. determining the appropriate indicators measuring the rate of goal achievement. Assuming that the goal of the owners is to grow the assets they invested in, it is vital to identify the key performance indicators, which contribute to value creation. These indicators are known as value drivers. Based on the undertaken literature search, a value driver is defined as any factor that affects the value of an enterprise. The important factors are then monitored by both financial and non-financial indicators. Financial performance indicators are most useful in strategic management, since they indicate whether a company's strategy implementation and execution are contributing to bottom line improvement. Non-financial indicators are mainly used for short-term decisions. The identification of value drivers, however, is problematic for companies which are not publicly traded. Therefore financial ratios continue to be used to measure the performance of companies, despite their considerable criticism. The main drawback of such indicators is the fact that they are calculated based on accounting data, while accounting rules may differ considerably across different environments. For successful enterprise performance management it is vital to avoid factors that may reduce (or even destroy) its value. Among the known factors reducing the enterprise value are the lack of capital, lack of strategic management system and poor quality of production. In order to gain further insight into the topic, the paper presents results of the research identifying factors that adversely affect the performance of mechanical engineering enterprises in the Czech Republic. The research methodology focuses on both the qualitative and the quantitative aspect of the topic. The qualitative data were obtained from a questionnaire survey of the enterprises senior management, while the quantitative financial data were obtained from the Analysis Major Database for European Sources (AMADEUS). The questionnaire prompted managers to list factors which negatively affect business performance of their enterprises. The range of potential factors was based on a secondary research – analysis of previously undertaken questionnaire surveys and research of studies published in the scientific literature. The results of the survey were evaluated both in general, by average scores, and by detailed sub-analyses of additional criteria. These include the company specific characteristics, such as its size and ownership structure. The evaluation also included a comparison of the managers’ opinions and the performance of their enterprises – measured by return on equity and return on assets ratios. The comparisons were tested by a series of non-parametric tests of statistical significance. The results of the analyses show that the factors most detrimental to the enterprise performance include the incompetence of responsible employees and the disregard to the customers‘ requirements.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
3
97302
Health Care Students' Attitudes, Knowledge and Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Cross Sectional Study
Abstract:
Background: In recent years, the use of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) has achieved worldwide popularity. With the increased public interest in CAMs, attention to it within Health Care Schools and Colleges has also improved. Studies generally assess the knowledge and attitudes regarding CAMs in medical and nursing students. The current study focused on the knowledge, attitudes and practice of CAM in healthcare students. Aim: To assess the knowledge and attitudes regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in healthcare students in South Tyrol, a region in Northern Italy. Methodology: This cross-sectional study was carried out among 361 students. Self-administered questionnaire was adapted and modified by the researchers from several questionnaires. The instrument consisted of three sections: 1) demographical characteristics (gender, place of residence and year of study); 2) general attitudes towards CAM, evaluated through 11 items using a Likert scale (agree, partly agree, partly disagree, disagree); 3) knowledge and use about any particular CAM practices (acupuncture, aromatherapy, creative therapies, diet/nutritional therapies, phytotherapy/herbal therapies, compresses, massage therapy, Ayurvedic therapy, Tibetan medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, pet therapy, reflexology, therapeutic touch, chiropractic/osteopathy). Results: The sample consisted of 63 males and 297 females, 58% living in villages. 151 students (42%) were in the first year, 99 (27%) in the second and 106 (30%) in the third. Both men and women agreed with statements about the utility and benefits of CAMs. Women were significantly more likely than men to agree that the CAM practices should be included in the curriculum (p < 0.004), that the health professionals should be able to advice their patients about commonly used CAM methods (p < 0.002) and that the clinical care should integrate CAM practices (p < 0.04). Students in the second year showed the highest mean score for the statement 'CAM includes ideas and methods from which conventional medicine could benefit' (p = 0.049), highlighting a positive attitude, while students in the third year achieved the lowest mean score for the negative statement 'The results of CAM are in most cases due to a placebo effect'. Regarding this statement, participants living in villages disagreed significantly than students living in the city (p < 0.001). Females appeared to be significantly more familiar with homeopathy (p < 0.002), aromatherapy (p < 0.033), creative therapies (p < 0.001) and herbal therapies (p< 0.002) than males. Moreover, women were likely to use CAM more frequently than men, particularly to solve psychological problems (p < 0.004). In addition, women perceived the benefit significantly more positive than men (p < 0.001). Students in the second year revealed to use the CAM mostly to improve the quality of life (p < 0.023), while students in the third year used CAMs particularly for chronic diseases (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Results from this study suggested that female students show more positive attitudes on CAM than male students. Moreover, the prevalence of CAM use and its perceived benefits differ between males and females, so that women are more willing to use CAM practices.
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
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61161
Mixed-Methods Analyses of Subjective Strategies of Most Unlikely but Successful Transitions from Social Benefits to Work
Abstract:
In the case of Germany, there are about one million long-term unemployed – a figure that did not vary much during the past years. These long-term unemployed did not benefit from the prospering labor market while most short-term unemployed did. Instead, they are continuously dependent on welfare and sometimes precarious short-term employment, experiencing work poverty. Long-term unemployment thus turns into a main obstacle to become employed again, especially if it is accompanied by other impediments such as low-level education (school/vocational), poor health (especially chronical illness), advanced age (older than fifty), immigrant status, motherhood or engagement in care for other relatives. As can be shown by this current research project, in these cases the chance to regain employment decreases to near nil. Almost two-thirds of all welfare recipients have multiple impediments which hinder a successful transition from welfare back to sustainable and sufficient employment. Prospective employers are unlikely to hire long-term unemployed with additional impediments because they evaluate potential employees on their negative signaling (e.g. low-level education) and the implicit assumption of unproductiveness (e.g. poor health, age). Some findings of the panel survey “Labor market and social security” (PASS) carried out by the Institute of Employment Research (the research institute of the German Federal Labor Agency) spread a ray of hope, showing that unlikely does not necessarily mean impossible. The presentation reports on current research on these very scarce “success stories” of unlikely transitions from long-term unemployment to work and how these cases were able to perform this switch against all odds. The study is based on a mixed-method design. Within the panel survey (~15,000 respondents in ~10,000 households), only 66 cases of such unlikely transitions were observed. These cases have been explored by qualitative inquiry – in depth-interviews and qualitative network techniques. There is strong evidence that sustainable transitions are influenced by certain biographical resources like habits of network use, a set of informal skills and particularly a resilient way of dealing with obstacles, combined with contextual factors rather than by job-placement procedures promoted by Job-Centers according to activation rules or by following formal paths of application. On the employer’s side small and medium-sized enterprises are often found to give job opportunities to a wider variety of applicants, often based on a slow but steadily increasing relationship leading to employment. According to these results it is possible to show and discuss some limitations of (German) activation policies targeting the labor market and their impact on welfare dependency and long-term unemployment. Based on these findings, indications for more supportive small-scale measures in the field of labor-market policies are suggested to help long-term unemployed with multiple impediments to overcome their situation (e.g. organizing small-scale-structures and low-threshold services to encounter possible employers on a more informal basis like “meet and greet”).
Digital Article Identifier (DAI):
1
55193
Multimodal Integration of EEG, fMRI and Positron Emission Tomography Data Using Principal Component Analysis for Prognosis in Coma Patients
Abstract:
Introduction: So far, clinical assessments that rely on behavioral responses to differentiate coma states or even predict outcome in coma patients are unreliable, e.g. because of some patients’ motor disabilities. The present study was aimed to provide prognosis in coma patients using markers from electroencephalogram (EEG), blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET). Unsuperwised principal component analysis (PCA) was used for multimodal integration of markers. Methods: Approved by the local ethics committee of the Technical University of Munich (Germany) 20 patients (aged 18-89) with severe brain damage were acquired through intensive care units at the Klinikum rechts der Isar in Munich and at the Therapiezentrum Burgau (Germany). At the day of EEG/fMRI/PET measurement (date I) patients (
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