University of Trnava
  • Trnava, Slovakia
Recent publications
In the distant past, hunter-gatherers had to manage the risk of attacks from other human beings and dangerous animals not only when awake, but also when asleep—a time during which humans are particularly vulnerable. Thus, one hypothesis is that humans evolved to choose “safe spaces” to sleep. Spörrle and Stich (2010) provided evidence for this hypothesis using 2D-floor plans and by asking participants to arrange pieces of furniture in a bedroom (bed, chair, table, closet). The aim of the present research was to replicate and extend Spörrle and Stich’s (2010) findings. In two studies, participants had to position furniture in a sleeping room in the way they liked it best. Study 1 conducted with French participants was a quasi-replication of Spörrle and Stich (2010) using 2D-floor plans of a bedroom that differed in the opening direction of the door (left versus right) and the presence (versus absence) of a window. Study 2 with Slovak participants used the same design but this time with 3D-room plans. Finally, in Study 3 involving both French and Slovak participants, we examined the hypothesis that when participants are asked to imagine sleeping in a particular bedroom, a bed position that increases the risk of attack or predation (“unsafe position”) will elicit greater feelings of discomfort than a bed position that reduces such risks. Taken overall, the findings provide further evidence that the positioning of beds in modern sleeping rooms has been shaped by the ancestral requirement of being protected during the night.
Coverage of migrant and refugee data is incomplete and of insufficient quality in European health information systems. This is not because we lack the knowledge or technology. Rather, it is due to various political factors at local, national and European levels, which hinder the implementation of existing knowledge and guidelines. This reflects the low political priority given to the topic, and also complex governance challenges associated with migration and displacement. We review recent evidence, guidelines, and policies to propose four approaches that will advance science, policy, and practice. First, we call for strategies that ensure that data is collected, analyzed and disseminated systematically. Second, we propose methods to safeguard privacy while combining data from multiple sources. Third, we set out how to enable survey methods that take account of the groups’ diversity. Fourth, we emphasize the need to engage migrants and refugees in decisions about their own health data. Based on these approaches, we propose a change management approach that narrows the gap between knowledge and action to create healthcare policies and practices that are truly inclusive of migrants and refugees. We thereby offer an agenda that will better serve public health needs, including those of migrants and refugees and advance equity in European health systems. Funding No specific funding received.
Background Increasing rates of NCD are observed within EU countries. This paper aims to highlight the potential of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in informing projects, plans, and programs related to health improvement, thus enhancing its role in the decision-making process. Methods The preliminary analysis focuses on HIA's involvement in the decision-making process regarding NCD in the EU, particularly in CEE countries over the past decade. The study examines various aspects of the identified HIAs, including their general information, the time frame of the HIA, proposed preventive measures, methods used, the description of the determinants of health affected by the decision, the type of document assessed, the affected population, the impact of the HIA on subsequent decisions, the source and cost of funding, the limitations of the study, HIA as a part of EIA or not, the use of artificial intelligence algorithms in the possibility of HIA implementation, etc. The impact of each HIA on subsequent decisions was categorized using an adaptation of a classification system developed by Wismar et al. for use in evaluating European HIAs (Wismar et al. 2007). Results The findings suggest that HIA is crucial in addressing the public and providing transparent information to entities with decision-making authority. It is recommended that the HIA process be a standard tool used to clarify information on health risk factors, implement new health policies, and monitor their effectiveness. The study also indicates that a completely digital approach to HIA is an open question that requires further research. AI algorithms can potentially aid in improving HIA's efficiency and processing complex information and data. Conclusions HIA has excellent potential to improve the decision-making process related to non-communicable diseases, and its incorporation as a standard tool is essential. The use of AI algorithms in HIA implementation is a promising area for future research. Key messages • HIA is a crucial tool in addressing the public and providing transparent information to entities with decision-making authority. • The use of AI algorithms in HIA implementation is a promising area for future research.
Background: Effective domiciliary treatment can be useful in the early phase of COVID-19 to limit disease progression, and pressure on hospitals. There are discrepant data on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aim of this study is to evaluate whether the clinical outcome of patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19 is influenced by domiciliary treatment with NSAIDs. Secondary objective was to explore the association between other patient characteristics/therapies and outcome. Methods: A large dataset of COVID-19 patients was created in the context of a European Union-funded project (unCoVer). The primary outcome was explored using a study level random effects meta-analysis for binary (multivariate logistic regression models) outcomes adjusted for selected factors, including demographics and other comorbidities. Results: 218 out of 1,144 patients reported use of NSAIDs before admission. No association between NSAIDs use and clinical outcome was found (unadj. OR: 0.96, 95%CI: 0.68-1.38). The model showed an independent upward risk of death with increasing age (OR 1.06; 95% CI 1.05-1.07) and male sex (1.36; 95% CI 1.04-1.76). Conclusion: In our study, the domiciliary use of NSAIDs did not show association with clinical outcome in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Older ages and male sex were associated to an increased risk of death.
The present study examines the Big Five traits and socio-demographic factors as predictors of both traditional left-right and liberal-conservative positions of Slovak voters (N = 704). As shown in previous research, Open-Mindedness and Conscientiousness are significant but weak predictors of both political axes, while Agreeableness plays a surprising role in predicting left-right orientation. To overcome the limitations of traditional political axes, three latent variables of the Slovak political space were discovered by exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of political preferences: sympathy towards old/new government, socially conservative parties, and a non-populist coalition. The former is significantly predicted by Open-Mindedness, while the latter is predicted by Conscientiousness. Overall, the Big Five traits predict a small but significant variance in political variables.
This article offers a discussion of the intricate relation between the human body and its technological supplementation. It argues that while the physical body may seem to sublimate in the plethora of discourses, it keeps reasserting its materiality via processes of technologization which capture perception and cognition in a constant cycle of disembodiment and re-embodiment. The article offers an analysis of Elizabet Goldring’s work with the Seeing Laser Ophthalmoscope, and her RetinaPrints (a unique form of visualization) to comment on the ways in which lived experiences are inexorably linked to practices of fragmentation, prosthesis and technological mediation.
Massive developments in technology, ICT, and artificial intelligence have been witnessed in recent years, with various projects emerging showing the apparent superiority of artificial intelligence over human intelligence, such as Deep Blue, AlphaGo, OpenAI Five, and GPT 3. In connection with them and with the favoured method of machine learning with deep learning, the term language model has appeared, which has the ambition to become the basis of general artificial intelligence (AGI). Critical responses, however, have been claiming that this is a dead end. An alternative view to these critical responses is attempted to be shown in this article, with consideration given as to whether the language model is just what critics consider it to be or whether something more can be sought behind it.
The present study focused on whether Dark Tetrad characteristics (machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism) predict conspiracy beliefs (COVID-19 related and general) in the Slovak population. Three independent samples were used for the study. The first sample consisted of 804 (73.9% women) university students of the middle-sized Slovak university. The second sample consisted of 489 (61.2% women) Facebook users. The third group was recruited from an online panel of a research agency and included 600 respondents (49% women). The results provided different findings for the three research samples. Results showed that machiavellianism was a positive predictor of conspiracy beliefs (COVID-19 and general) among respondents from a research agency and a university (general only). Psychopathy positively predicted COVID-19 and general conspiracy beliefs only among respondents from the Facebook sample. Narcissism positively pre dicted COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs among university students. The results of the study suggest that there is no consistent pattern of relationship between Dark Tetrad and conspiracy beliefs across different samples in Slovakia. Future research should focus on whether these inconsistencies are due to sample characteristics or they express lack of stable relationships between these two psychological variables.
According to the current Slovak legislation, which also determines the conditions for important personal obstacles at work, the employer is obliged to excuse the absence of an employee for the reason of accompanying his or her child to a medical facility for examination or treatment. The scientific paper deals with situations where it is necessary for an employee to accompany a child to various other diagnostic examinations which are not carried out in medical institutions. These obligations are imposed by specific legislation and must be fulfilled by the employee as the legal representative of minors in compulsory schooling or pre-primary education in relation to establishments operating under the education regulations. However, there is no excuse for the absence of an employee in the Labour Code or in other legislation in the area of education. Since these cases cannot be explicitly covered by any statutory regulation of personal obstacles to work on the part of the employee, a dispute arises in application practice between the employee and the employer as to the justification for the employee’s absence from work. This is also based on incorrect information provided by the education’s authorities who instruct the legal representatives that the employer must excuse the absence, as their child is undergoing certain examinations.
The question of heroism and heroic virtue belongs among the most discussed topics in history. It emerges as a recurring theme, mainly in the context of an imminent military danger provoking horror and fear which an individual must resist. This is precisely why heroism was a subject of Nazi propaganda in the past, when it was associated with an irrational willingness to sacrifice one’s own life for any value. In the context of the current war turmoil and tenebrous scenarios regarding the future of the humanity, this article poses the following question: what exactly is heroic virtue? In particular, it focuses on the image of heroism presented by Josef Pieper, who followed the line of thinking of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. He wanted to demonstrate how the courage to face injustice, in spite of imminent danger, develops into heroism when the power of hope is mobilised within individuals. This refers not only to the natural hope associated with our common expectations, but also a mystical hope that helps a hero maintain justice even when face-to-face with the predominance of evil until the end. The article concludes by proposing several motives that might be considered in the process of education to heroic virtue.
Predložený príspevok je venovaný poznatkom týkajúcim sa konkrétneho ústavu spolupracujúceho obvineného v zmysle slovenskej legislatívy. Neoddeliteľnou súčasťou predkladaného vedeckého príspevku sú aplikačné problémy, ktorých analýza poslúži ako základ a východisko pre prípadné návrhy de lege ferenda. Čitateľ bude v danej problematike oboznámený s českým aj talianskym právnym poriadkom a z takto získaných informácií budú vyzdvihnuté jednotlivé nastavenia zahraničných právnych úprav, ktoré by mohli v budúcnosti slúžiť ako základ pre domáce právne úpravy. Na druhej strane poukážeme aj na problematické oblasti, ktorým čelia predmetné právne predpisy. Sme presvedčení, že takáto dôkladná analýza poskytne nielen čitateľovi, ale dúfajme, že aj akademickej obci náležité zistenia, ktoré budú prínosom pre právny poriadok našej republiky a vytvoria priestor na ďalšiu diskusiu.
This paper represents a philosophical reflection on the nature and value of philosophy itself. Georges Canguilhem somewhat scandalously argued that the fundamental value of philosophy does not lie in truth. He suggests that truth is a typical value of science because truth is what science says and what is said scientifically. Why would a philosopher depreciate his own discipline? And does he really do so? Or is there a different motivation: to help philosophy to become a much more self‐confident voice? And if truth is no longer a value of philosophy, what value fits it better? The article follows Canguilhem in his conception of truth, science, and philosophy. It is against the background of these considerations that the specific revised anthropology of the scientist or philosopher is formed. The main question is what this means for current philosophy and why it could be inspiring for philosophers today.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many European countries, including Czechia and Slovakia, enforced restrictions on the movement of people. This paper demonstrates the structure of leisure activities during the pandemic in these two Central European countries. We used the Catalogue of Leisure Activities (CaLA), which allows a comparison of the structure of activities by independent variables. Two aims were stated: to examine and compare the structure of leisure activities of Czechs and Slovaks, including the gender and educational level differences, and to prove the functionality of CaLA in international research. Data was collected via an online questionnaire and were representative in both countries by age and gender. Pearson's χ 2 was used to test statistical dependencies. Czechs and Slovaks differ significantly in leisure activities. No significant differences were found when comparing the leisure activities of men and women in both countries. On the contrary, education affected the structure of leisure activities significantly. ARTICLE HISTORY
In addition to addressing nursing and medical needs, the social needs of patients within hospice care require assessment (i.e., relationships, isolation, loneliness, societal inclusion or exclusion, negotiating adequate formal and informal support, or living with a life-limiting condition). The objectives of this scoping review are to examine the challenges of adult patients in receipt of hospice care during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify innovative changes to care during the pandemic. The methodology of the scoping review follows the Joanna Briggs Institute framework developed in 2015. The context included hospice services (inpatient, outpatient and community). In August 2022, PubMed and SAGE journals were searched from 2020 onwards for studies published in English, which focused on COVID-19, hospice, social, support and challenges. Titles and abstracts were independently screened by two reviewers against agreed criteria. Fourteen studies were included. Data were independently extracted by authors. Emerging themes were loss due to COVID-19 restrictions, challenges for staff, barriers to communication and transition to Telemedicine, and positive effects of the pandemic. Pivoting to Tele-medicine and restricting visitors reduced the risk of spreading coronavirus but resulted in patients being socially isolated from loved ones, and a reliance on technology to have sensitive conversations.
After the Communist coup in February 1948, all areas of society in Czechoslovakia were indoctrinated by the ideology of Marxism–Leninism. The Christian Churches became the biggest internal enemies of the state, since, especially in Slovakia, they had a strong tradition and numerous representations. The government tracked representatives and members of the Church and controlled all their activities. The activities of religious orders were prohibited, which de facto abolished them. The only possibility of their preservation was to continue the life, education and work of individual orders in secret. Our goal was to examine how the Salesian order survived in this situation; specifically, we focused on the forms of formation and illegal study of the Salesians during the totalitarian regime. Research in these activities is rather demanding, since they could not be documented for security reasons. So-called memoir literature, the oral history method, and private archival sources were used in the research. Despite the fact that it seems that religious orders would not survive in this historical situation, the opposite was true: in the period of persecution, the orders were not only able to survive, but also raised a new generation that ensured their continuity and the continuation of their activities.
The research aim was to find out whether providing information on psychological preparation would produce changes in pre-retirees retirement planning intentions and advance retirement concepts. In the experiment, we divided the pre-retirees (N = 567, mean age of 54.91, SD = 3.55 years, working full-time) into four groups (with and without pre-test, with and without the information provided). There were no differences between the pre-test and post-test conditions. However, the results showed that participants acknowledged the need to prepare for retirement even before the intervention. The participants also rated themselves as psychologically prepared for retirement. The results also indicated which pre-retirees could benefit from psychological preparation: those who believe they would have a disadvantageous and unfavorable retirement transition. The next group is the ones who tend to conceptualize their retirement as an imposed disruption as they also perceive their psychological resources for a successful transition as insufficient.
Interactions between avian brood parasites, such as common cuckoos (Cuculus canorus), and their hosts are one of the best-studied examples of the coevolutionary arms race. Different stages of this arms race can be seen in different races of common cuckoos and their hosts across their range. However, little is known whether selected populations of two closely related but geographically distant species with probably different coevolutionary histories with the common cuckoo are also at different stages of the arms race. In this study, we tested this prediction experimentally using the same non-mimetic model eggs and three-dimensional (3D) printed models of the gray adult common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus). We examined egg recognition and egg rejection and aggression against the common cuckoo in the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Oriental reed warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis), in Slovakia of Europe and northeast China of Asia. The results showed that the great reed warbler exhibited stronger responses to experimental model eggs and 3D models of the common cuckoo than the Oriental reed warbler. We conclude that both the great reed warbler and Oriental reed warbler have well-developed antiparasitic behaviors against common cuckoos in the studied populations, but with different levels of defense intensity, which may be due to local differences in parasitic pressure and the risk of parasitism. This provides an opportunity to study coevolutionary processes between the brood parasite and its hosts together in both species at large geographical scales.
Plant awareness disparity (PAD, formerly plant blindness) is the human inability to notice plants in everyday life. It is suggested that the main underlying factors of PAD are: 1. the inability to recognize individual plants and 2. stronger preferences for animals, which prevents building positive attitudes toward them. The presentation of individual plants should trigger more positive responses toward them than the presentation of groups of plants. Strong preferences for animals predict that the presence of an animal on a plant might enhance positive perceptions of the plant by people. We experimentally investigated the perceived attractiveness and willingness to protect (WTP) plants presented individually and in groups and with or without various pollinators in a sample of Slovak people (N = 238). In contrast to the first prediction, only one of four plants (dog rose, but not saffron, spruce, or beech tree) received higher attractiveness scores when presented individually than in a group. None of these species received higher WTP scores when presented individually, rather than in a group. The effect of the presence of pollinators on flower attractiveness and WTP was distinguished between vertebrates and invertebrates; only flowers with birds and bats increased their attractiveness scores, while flowers with invertebrates, including a butterfly, honeybee, beetle, and the syrphid fly, received similar or lower scores than the same plant species without pollinators. WTP plants significantly increased only when the scarlet honeycreeper and the cave nectar bat were present on flowers as pollinators. People showed significantly stronger preferences for items that associate 1. plants with pollinators and 2. plants with animals that distribute animal seed than for items focused solely on plants. Connecting animals and plants should help reduce PAD. This aim cannot be achieved, however, by presenting individual plants and/or plants with randomly chosen pollinators.
Background Increased workload and of the health workforce (HW) strained the capacity to maintain essential health services (EHS) during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, while putting them at increased risk of COVID-19 and other consequences to their health. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the health, wellbeing, and working conditions of nurses in Slovakia and to identify gaps in policies to be addressed to increase preparedness of the HW for future emergencies. Methods A nation-wide cross-sectional study was conducted among nurses during November–December 2021, referring to the period of January 2021 to November 2021. To assess the differences between impact on HW on various levels of care, respondents were grouped by type of facility: hospital-COVID-19 wards; Hospital–non-covid ward; Outpatient or ER; Other care facilities. Results 1170 nurses participated, about 1/3 of them tested positive for COVID-19 by November 2021, mostly developing mild disease. Almost 2/3 reported long-covid symptoms and about 13% reported that they do not plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The median of the score of the impact of workload on health was 2.8 (56% of the maximum 5), the median score of mental health-wellbeing was 1.9 (63% of a maximum of 3). The studied impacts in all domains were highest in nurses working in COVID-19 hospital wards. Significant disruptions of health care were reported, with relatively high use of telemedicine to mitigate them. Overall, about 70% of the respondents thought of leaving their job, mostly due to working stress or inadequate pay. Conclusions Our study showed that the COVID-19 pandemic poses a substantial burden on the health, wellbeing and working conditions of nurses in Slovakia and that a large proportion of nurses considered leaving their jobs because of work overload or low salaries. Human resource strategies should be adopted to attract, retain and continuously invest in HW development including in emergency preparedness and response. Such an approach may improve the resilience and preparedness of the health system in Slovakia for future emergencies.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global public health problem and a leading cause of mortality, morbidity and disability. The increasing incidence combined with the heterogeneity and complexity of TBI will inevitably place a substantial burden on health systems. These findings emphasize the importance of obtaining accurate and timely insights into the healthcare consumption and costs on a multinational scale. This study aimed to describe intramural healthcare consumption and costs across the full spectrum of TBI in Europe. The CENTER-TBI (Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury) core study is a prospective observational study conducted in 18 countries across Europe and Israel. The baseline Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) was used to differentiate patients by brain injury severity in mild (GCS 13-15), moderate (GCS 9-12) or severe (GCS<=8) TBI. We analyzed seven main cost categories: prehospital care, hospital admission, surgical interventions, imaging, laboratory, blood products, and rehabilitation. Costs were estimated based on Dutch reference prices and converted to country-specific unit prices using GDP-PPP adjustment. Mixed linear regression was used to identify between country-differences in length of stay, as a parameter of healthcare consumption. Mixed generalized linear models with gamma distribution and log link function quantified associations of patient characteristics with higher total costs. We included 4349 patients, of whom 2854 (66%) had mild, 371 (9%) moderate, and 962 (22%) severe TBI. Hospitalization accounted for the largest part of the intramural consumption and costs (59%). In the total study population the mean length of stay at the ICU was 5.1 days and 6.4 days at the ward. For mild, moderate and severe TBI, mean length of stay was respectively 1.8, 8.8 and 13.5 days at the ICU and 4.5, 10.1 and 10.3 days at the ward. Other large contributors to the total costs were rehabilitation (20%) and intracranial surgeries (8%). Total costs increased with higher age and greater trauma severity (mild; €3,800 [IQR €1,400-€14,000], moderate; €37,800 [IQR €14,900-€74,200], severe; €60,400 (IQR €24,400-€112,400). The adjusted analysis showed that female patients had lower costs compared to male patients (OR 0.80 (CI 0.75-1.85). Increasing TBI severity was associated with higher costs, OR 1.46 (CI;1.31-1.63) and OR 1.67 (CI;1.52-1.84) for moderate and severe patients respectively. A worse premorbid overall health state, increasing age and more severe systemic trauma, expressed in ISS, were also significantly associated with higher costs. Intramural costs of TBI are significant and are profoundly driven by hospitalization. Costs increased with trauma severity, with age and male patients incurred higher costs. Reducing LOS could be targeted with advanced care planning in order to provide cost-effective care.
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Peter Kovac
  • Department of Criminal Law and Criminology
Milan Matejdes
  • Department of Mathematics and Informatics
Martin Rusnak
  • Department of Public Health
Univerzitne namestie 1, 91701, Trnava, Slovakia