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Hogyan befolyásolja a villamosenergia-hálózatról rendelkezésre álló információ a fizikai támadások által okozott sérülékenységről alkotott képet?

A hazai energiaszolgáltatás túlélőképessége

How grid information affects the perception of vulnerability of the power grid under physical attacks.

Robustness of the Hungarian power grid
Scientia et Securitas
Author: Bálint Hartmann

Összefoglaló. A villamosenergia-rendszerek fizikai támadásokkal szembeni ellenálló képessége a közelmúltban világszerte történt események ismeretében egyre nagyobb hangsúlyt kap a tématerület kutatásaiban. Az ilyen eseményekre való megfelelő felkészüléshez elengedhetetlen az üzemeltetett infrastruktúrának, elsősorban annak gyengeségeinek pontos ismerete. A cikkben Magyarország villamosenergia-hálózatának adatai alapján készített súlyozatlan és súlyozott gráfokon végzünk vizsgálatokat, hogy megértsük a különböző stratégia mentén kiválasztott célpontok elleni támadások milyen mértékben csökkentik a topológiai hatékonyságot. A cikk célja egyben a magyar hálózat sérülékenységének általános bemutatása is, mely hasznos bemeneti információ lehet a kockázati tervek elkészítésekor.

Summary. Tolerance of the power grid against physical intrusions has gained importance in the light of various attacks that have taken place around the world. To adequately prepare for such events, grid operators have to possess a deep understanding of their infrastructure, more specifically, of its weaknesses. A graph representation of the Hungarian power grid was created in a way that the vertices are generators, transformers, and substations and the edges are high-voltage transmission lines. All transmission and sub-transmission elements were considered, including the 132 kV network as well. The network is subjected to various types of single and double element attacks, objects of which are selected according to different aspects. The vulnerability of the network is measured as a relative drop in efficiency when a vertex or an edge is removed from the network. Efficiency is a measure of the network’s performance, assuming that the efficiency for transmitting electricity between vertices i and j is proportional to the reciprocal of their distance. In this paper, simultaneous removals were considered, arranged into two scenarios (single or double element removal) and a total of 5 cases were carried out (single vertex removal, single edge removal, double vertex removal, double edge removal, single vertex and single edge removal). During the examinations, all possible removal combinations were simulated, thus the 5 cases represent 385, 504, 73920, 128271 and 193797 runs, respectively. After all runs were performed, damage values were determined for random and targeted attacks, and attacks causing maximal damage were also identified. In all cases, damage was calculated for unweighted and weighted networks as well, to enable the comparison of those two models. The aims of this paper are threefold: to perform a general assessment on the vulnerability of the Hungarian power grid against random and targeted attacks; to compare the damage caused by different attack strategies; and to highlight the differences between using unweighted and weighted graphs representations. Random removal of a single vertex or a single edge caused 0.3–0.4% drop in efficiency, respectively, which indicates a high tolerance against such attacks. Damage for random double attacks was still only in the range of 0.6–0.8%, which is acceptable. It was shown that if targets are selected by the attacker based on the betweenness rank of the element, damage would be below the maximal possible values. Comparison of the damage measured in the unweighted and the weighted network representations has shown that damage to the weighted network tends to be bigger for vertex attacks, but the contrary is observed for edge attacks. Numerical differences between the two representations do not show any trend that could be generalised, but in the case of the most vulnerable elements significant differences were found in damage measures, which underlines the importance of using weighted models.

Open access

A koronavírus járvány hatása a villamosenergia-rendszerre mint kritikus infrastruktúrára

Impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the electricity system as critical infrastructure

Scientia et Securitas
Authors: Attila Aszódi and Bence Biró

Összefoglaló. Írásunk a magyar villamosenergia-rendszert vizsgálja a COVID–19 koronavírus-járvány időszakában. Bemutatjuk a járvány magyarországi alakulásának villamosenergia-fogyasztásra gyakorolt hatását. Elemezzük a magyar villamosenergia-fogyasztási adatokat a 2019. és a 2020. év vonatkozásában, összehasonlítjuk a fogyasztás és a GDP negyedéves változását 2020-ban, és összevetjük a magyar villamosenergia-rendszerben bekövetkezett változásokat egyes európai országok rendszerének adataival. Cikkünk végén röviden bemutatjuk a villamosenergia-rendszer mint kritikus infrastruktúra működtetésének mindennapjait a járvány alatt, amely rendszer ebben a mindenki számára megerőltető időszakban is folyamatosan biztosította a fogyasztók biztonságos és megbízható villamosenergia-ellátását.

Summary. The pandemic situation caused by the coronavirus has momentarily changed the lives of everyone in the world. With the closure of borders and the imposition of curfews, tourism practically stopped overnight, civil aviation shut down, offices and some manufacturing plants closed, people were forced to stay in their homes for months, worldwide. It must also be taken into account that intensive air travel and a globalised world economy clearly predispose the world to a greater frequency of pandemics in the future, and that society, the country and humanity as a whole must be prepared to deal more effectively with similar epidemics. This salutatory change is certainly worth analysing, as much can be learned from the current situation.

In this article, we analyse the energy aspects of the epidemic, as the virus has left a deep imprint even in this industry. For the analysis, it is essential to describe the behavior of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary and the measures taken in parallel to contain the outbreak, as these measures have had a significant impact on the country’s electricity system. We examined the electricity consumption trends for 2020 compared to 2019. We show how the consumer sides of different European electricity systems have reacted to the situation. We conclude by highlighting the changes in the critical energy infrastructure that, despite the difficulties caused by the epidemic, the Hungarian electricity system has provided the population with the electricity which is increasingly essential to our daily lives.

The current situation highlights even more that the main infrastructures of modern societies, such as industrial production plants, transport, commerce, health care, information technology and even households, cannot function without a reliable and secure electricity supply. It is therefore of paramount importance to ensure the operational conditions of the electricity system as critical infrastructure, even during a pandemic.

Open access

Monoklonális antitestek és egyéb biológiai terápiák a COVID–19 kezelésére

Monoclonal antibodies and other biologics for treatment of COVID-19

Scientia et Securitas
Author: Imre Kacskovics

Összefoglaló. A SARS-CoV-2 koronavírus által kiváltott pandémia az elmúlt mintegy 100 év legsúlyosabb közegészségügyi, gazdasági és társadalmi válságát okozza. Az emberiség soha nem látott tudással, példa nélküli sebességgel állította elő azokat a hatékony védőoltásokat, amelyek a megfelelő átoltottság mellett kontrollálhatják a COVID–19-járványt.

A SARS-CoV-2 fertőzéssel az emberiségnek meg kell tanulnia együtt élni, és mivel a vakcinák nem mindenkinek adhatók, vagy nem mindenkiben váltanak ki immunvédelmet, szükséges a jelenleginél hatékonyabb COVID–19-specifikus terápiák kifejlesztése. Több COVID–19 kezelésére kifejlesztett gyógyszerhatóanyagot is sikerrel tesztelnek, közülük is kiemelkednek a monoklonális antitestek, illetve más biológiai terápiák. Ezek egyfelől olyan gyógyszerek, amelyek a betegség korai fázisában semlegesítik a vírust, azaz megakadályozzák, hogy a sejteket megfertőzze, míg mások a már kialakult súlyos megbetegedésben csökkenthetik a gyulladás mértékét. Biologikumok közé tartozik a SARS-CoV-2-t semlegesítő hACE2-Fc fúziós fehérje is, amely a neutralizáló monoklonális antitestek hatásához hasonlítható; előnye, hogy minden mutáns ellen hatékony lehet.

Virológusok, járványügyi szakemberek szerint fel kell készülnünk arra, hogy a jelenlegihez hasonló járványok rendszeressé válnak. Ökológiai okok miatt egyre nő az állati eredetű kórokozók adaptálódása az emberhez, de nem zárhatók ki az ún. laborszökevény vírusok, sőt a bioterrorizmus veszélye sem. Mindezek hatékony kezelésére erősítenünk kell a hazai biotechnológiai kapacitásokat. A hatóanyagfejlesztésben a már kialakult hazai egyetemi-kutatóintézeti-ipari együttműködésekre számíthatunk, a gyártás során pedig a hazai korszerű biotechnológiai, gyógyszeripari kapacitásra, amelyek növelhetik az önellátásból származó biztonságot.

Summary. The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic is causing the worst public health, economic and social crisis in the last 100 years. New and effective vaccines were developed and produced with the application of unprecedented know how and speed, which can control the COVID-19 epidemic with the right vaccination coverage.

Humanity needs to learn to live with the SARS-CoV-2 infection, and because vaccines cannot be given to everyone or cannot induce immune protection in all vaccinated individuals, it is necessary to develop more effective COVID-19-specific therapies than those presently available. Several drugs developed for the treatment of COVID-19 have been successfully tested, including monoclonal antibodies and other biological therapies. These are, on the one hand, drugs that neutralize the virus in the early stages of the disease, that is, it prevents it from infecting the cells, while others can reduce the rate of inflammation in a severe disease status. This review article provides an update about the current status of monoclonal antibodies that have been developed to treat COVID-19.

In early 2020 Eotvos Lorand University, Pecs University, Gedeon Richter Plc and ImmunoGenes Ltd formed a consortium to develop a molecular trap, the human ACE2-Fc fusion protein that binds to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and inhibits its binding to the ACE2 receptors on the cell surfaces. We successfully produced this recombinant protein and proved that it neutralizes this virus using VERO E6 cells and protects animals (Syrian hamster) from serious disease when administered before infection. We have also shown that it has a long half-life due to its (IgG) Fc-region component. Based on these proof of concept data, we created mutant versions of this drug candidate that do not have catabolic activity for angiotensin II and thus would not influence blood pressure. This is important since this drug should be administered in log-fold higher concentrations than ACE2 receptors in the body in order to efficiently neutralize the virus. The virus neutralization capacity of these new versions remained intact based on in vitro virus neutralization tests. We believe that after successful animal experiments, these drug candidates can be efficiently used in COVID-19 therapy in mild or moderate disease status. As compared to the COVID-19 specific monoclonal antibodies, we believe that these recombinant, mutant hACE2-Fc drugs can be more effective than the mAbs as they effectively bind and neutralize the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 (if they are able to bind the endogenous ACE2 receptor).

According to virologists and epidemiologists, we need to be prepared for epidemics like the current one becoming more regular. Due to ecological reasons, the adaptation of animal pathogens to humans is increasing, but there are threats due to lab leak viruses and even bioterrorism. To deal with all this effectively, we need to strengthen domestic biotechnology capacities. In the development of drug substances, we can count on the already established Hungarian university-research institute-industry collaborations, which can increase the safety resulting from self-sufficiency.

Open access

A személyre szabott terápia legújabb lehetőségei a molekuláris onkológiában

New Options for Personalized Treatment in Molecular Oncology

Scientia et Securitas
Authors: Otília Menyhárt, Virag Vas, Balázs Győrffy, and László Buday

Összefoglaló. A molekuláris onkológia térnyerésével számos új lehetőség érhető el a daganatos betegek hatékonyabb kezelésére. Ilyen a klinikai vizsgálatokban alkalmazott, a valóban személyre szabott kezelést elősegítő génpanelelemzés, illetve a célzott kezelés szövettípustól független alkalmazása. A személyre szabott terápiák jelentős hányada valamelyik kinázt gátolja. Az összefoglalónkban bemutatjuk a RAS jelátviteli út sejten belüli komplex szabályozását, valamint ismertetjük az útvonal további farmakológiai szempontból kiaknázható célpontjait nemzetközi és saját eredményeink alapján. A kinázokat érintő gyakori mutációk ellenére számos daganattípusban nem áll rendelkezésre személyre szabott terápia. A hagyományos terápiával nem kezelhető agydaganatok példáján keresztül bemutatjuk a tirozin-kinázok várható jövőbeli terápiás jelentőségét.

Summary. With the advent of molecular oncology, the identification of mutations in solid tumours is now clinically routine. The growing repertoire of targeted therapeutic agents has supported the rise of a new type of clinical trial in which the selection of the therapeutic agent is no longer restricted to a single option. Instead, a panel of genes is screened to identify the most suitable drug for each patient. Such trials have delivered objective response rates in 5–30% of patients. Most of the signal transduction pathways targeted by these agents involves RAS signaling.

Somatic mutations in RAS genes are common in human tumours. Such mutations generally decrease the ability of RAS to hydrolyze GTP, maintaining the protein in a constitutively active GTP-bound form that drives uncontrolled cell proliferation. Recent emerging data suggest that RAS regulation is more complex than the scientific community has appreciated for decades. We discuss a novel type of RAS regulation that involves direct phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of RAS tyrosine residues. The discovery that pharmacological inhibition of the tyrosine phosphoprotein phosphatase SHP2 maintains mutant Ras in an inactive state suggests that SHP2 could be a novel drug target for the treatment of Ras-driven human cancers.

In addition to RAS gene mutations, other common oncogenic events have also been identified, including mutation of EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) or BRAF (isoform B of rapidly accelerated fibrosarcoma). EGFR has tyrosine kinase activity while BRAF acts as a serine/threonine kinase. In some tumours, mutant forms of these kinases over-activate cell proliferation, leading to uncontrolled tumour cell growth; therefore, it seems rational to develop inhibitor molecules that target these hyper-active oncogenic kinases to reduce tumour cell burden in cancer patients.

Fusion protein kinases activated via the RAS pathway represent target proteins with high clinical success rates. Recently approved TRK fusion protein kinase inhibitors have reached response rates in almost 80% of patients regardless of tumour type. Although these drugs can only be administered to patients whose tumours harbour a TRK fusion protein, such success stories pave the way for future development of agents that target similar genetic mutations.

Glioblastoma multiforme, a relatively frequent, almost uniformly fatal brain tumour, has ubiquitous alterations in tyrosine-kinase signalling. Nevertheless, to this day, no tyrosine-kinase inhibitors have been approved for its treatment. We have ongoing research projects to uncover associations between initial gene expression levels in untreated glioblastoma samples and treatment-related survival, and we have identified overexpression of druggable tyrosine-kinase receptors in chemotherapy-resistant patients. Our approach will help to identify patients who might benefit from concurrent use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and conventional cytotoxic therapies.

Open access

Túl az etikán – a humán kutatások kockázatérzékenysége és pszichológiai aspektusai

Beyond ethics – risk sensitivity and psychological aspects of human research

Scientia et Securitas
Author: Valéria Csépe

Összefoglaló. A humán kutatások eredményeit bemutató közlemények számos adattal szolgálnak a megismerni kívánt jelenségre vonatkozóan. Általánosan elfogadott elvárás a vonatkozó etikai szabályok szigorú betartása, az előírt vizsgálati protokollok betartása. Az emberekkel végzett vizsgálatoknak azonban van egy olyan dimenziója, amelyre az etikai szabályok nem térnek ki, s amelyek a vizsgálati eredményeket, illetve azok reprezentativitását is befolyásolják. Ezek mindegyike a pszichológia vizsgálódási területéhez tartozik, legyen szó a pszichológiai kutatások etikai kérdéseiről, vagy az orvosbiológiai kutatások, orvosi beavatkozások, illetve azok elfogadásának pszichológiai aspektusairól. A tanulmány a pszichológia megváltozott etikai felfogásának rövid bemutatását követően a genetikai kutatások pszichológiai aspektusait és az egészség-magatartás kritikus kérdéseit elemzi. Az utóbbiak esetében a kockázatészlelés, valamint a bizalom, megbízhatóság pszichológiai modelljeiből kiindulva mutatja be az oltási hajlandóság és az oltásellenesség ismert pszichológiai faktorait.

Summary. Publications presenting the results of human research provide a wealth of data on the phenomenon to be explored. It is a generally accepted expectation to adhere strictly to the relevant ethical rules and to the required protocols. However, studies in humans have a dimension that is not fully covered by ethical rules and that also affects the studies’ results and their representativeness. All of these belong to the field of research in psychology, be it the ethical issues of psychological research or the psychological aspects of biomedical research, medical interventions, and their acceptance. Researchers of these and other scientific areas widely believe that science is morally neutral, that is, its task is the discovery of facts, the further development of the investigations’ tools and methods to perform correct analysis and draw reliable conclusions. However, research and development are characterized by a kind of moral neutrality, the essence of which is that the researcher not participating in the decisions on applications is neutral in general. This means that the curiosity driven research should not pay attention to risks associated with the use of results. However, many recent concerns related to the long-term effects of broadly applied inventions speaks for the need on consensus how the consequences could or should be forecasted.

Following a brief presentation of the changed ethical perception of psychology, I give some examples on the psychological aspects of genetic research and that of the critical issues in health behavior. Concerns psychological in nature have been articulated in the last decade and it became increasingly clear that genetic testing can also have psychological factors that must be considered. Moreover, the recent focus on psychological aspects of human research shed light on the complexity of health behavior, and questions have been raised about the known psychological factors of the human reactions to suggested therapies, especially those of the vaccination propensity, rejection, and anti-vaccination movements. Although there are only a few systematic studies on this issue, the proper solutions of the Covid-19 should consider the psychological aspects of the acceptance and rejection of vaccination. We may consider that the first waves of the Covid-19 epidemic created situations requiring altered psychological coping, to which psychological research responded primarily by examining the epidemiological situation, illness, and the resulting psychological aspects of lifestyle (treatment of social isolation, stress management, anxiety, depression). Therefore, scientific data on risk perception and psychological factors of vaccine acceptance may contribute to preparedness for globally predicted epidemics and decision-making processes.

Open access

Zsigeri fájdalom, nocebo-hatások, placebo-analgézia

Visceral pain, nocebo-effects, placebo-analgesia

Scientia et Securitas
Author: György Bárdos

Összefoglaló. A belső szervek működési zavarai gyakran származnak viselkedési, lelki vagy pszichoszociális okokból, amelyeknek nem mindig vagyunk tudatában. Minthogy ebben a folyamatban egy bonyolult neuronális hálózat játssza a fő szerepet, ezeknek a zavaroknak a diagnózisa és terápiája számos tényező manipulálását igényli.

A funkcionális gyomor-bélhuzam rendellenességek (FGID), például az irritábilisbél-szindróma (IBS), jellemző példái ennek: olyan működési zavarokról van szó, amelyek mögött jól detektálható szervi vagy biokémiai elváltozásokat nem találnak. Ilyenkor szükségesnek tűnik a komplex megközelítés, amely többféle szakember együttműködését kívánja meg. Szerepe lehet a pszichés vagy életmód terápiának, a gyógyszeres és fizikai kezelésnek is, és – ahogy ebben a cikkben megmutatjuk – a placebo-terápiának is.

Summary. Functional disorders of the internal organs frequently are results of behavioral, mental or psycho-social dysfunctions, although we are usually not conscious about it. A typical example isirritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a characteristic functional gastro-intestinal disorder (FGID), which is regularly accompanied by abdominal pain and irregular intestinal motility and defecation. It has been shown that this disorder cannot be due to a single factor, nor is it a result of a local cause. Recently researchers have proven that malfunction of a complicated neuronal network, including several brain sites, may be responsible for IBS. It is believed now that IBS is the consequence of several nocebo-effects.

IBS is a typical source of visceral pain or discomfort, a source that is frequently difficult to identify. Main factors are stimuli originating from the gastro-intestinal tract, passing through the spinal cord and reaching several brain structures, including cortical and sub-cortical sites. It has been shown that some structures become thicker while others thinner as a result of lasting visceral pain, resulting in altered top-down effects on the visceral organs. Several hormones accompany these processes resulting in a complicated network activity.

Recent research has revealed that IBS requires a complex approach, optimally provided by a therapeutic team of physicians, psychologist/psychiatrist, associates, and even the patient himself/herself. They may apply or suggest medicines, physiotherapy, lifestyle modifications, alimentary changes etc.

An important feature is that the nocebo-effect plays an important role in the generation of IBS, thus one may think the opposite phenomenon, placebo-effect could be used in the therapeutic process. And really, placebo-analgesia is a method frequently used in the therapy of IBS. Placebo-analgesia affects brain processes, including pain processing, release of hormones, including endogenous opioids, the primary pain-decreasing factors. A top-down pain-modification system exists which can be affected and activated by the placebo-analgesia thus counteracting the nocebo-effects and improving the condition of the individual.

The placebo phenomenon is interesting in itself, too. By now, the major question is not the existence of the placebo-effect but the mechanisms behind it. Recently, as brain-mapping techniques have gained their role in research, a lot of new information proves that the placebo-effect (as well as the nocebo-effect) is a complex phenomenon that involves several different brain sites, including the brain cortex and the limbic system, respectively.P

The placebo-effect is widely used in clinical practice, first of all as a reference treatment when new drugs or medicines are tested for their effectivity. There are numerous ethical problems in this area, recently, for example, when testing Covid-19 vaccines. The main problem is whether it is legal to keep a non-treated population, whether the placebo-group should be treated immediately after the trial ends, whether the members of the placebo-group should get adequate information.

Open access

Abstract

Writing to report research writing may be a daunting task since it requires motivation, interest, background knowledge and hard work from the part of students. This paper focused on the major obstacles faced by the English foreign language learners in research writing at Belhadj Bouchaib University, Algeria, in addition to the teachers’ attitudes towards their students’ work. The study relied on a triangulated approach which enclosed quantitative and qualitative methods and its importance lied in providing insights into the nature of flaws and challenges as regards students’ academic writing practices. A questionnaire was used among 30 students followed by an interview with six teachers. The findings revealed that developing a research project and reporting the findings were among the most difficult challenges encountered by the learners. While the former requires them to identify the area of interest, choose a topic and formulate a researchable problem, the latter typically entails writing the methodology, results, and discussion sections. Between the two tasks, the students found academic writing the most challenging. The findings also revealed that teachers display negative attitudes towards their students’ research because of these reasons: lack of motivation following traditional methods of learning, insufficient background knowledge about research, paucity of library resources, sketchy number of courses related to research, and the unavailability of the Internet inside the university context. Following these flaws, some recommendations were provided.

Open access

Abstract

Over the last few decades, several countries have entrenched a special subcategory of law, which is adopted by stricter procedural rules than the requirements of the ordinary legislative process. These laws are enacted by qualified majority, by the consent of the two chambers of the legislation, and are subject to mandatory constitutional review before their promulgation, or additional safeguards are implemented in the ordinary legislative process. It is beyond doubt that this legal instrument influences the prevalence of the separation of powers and the constitutional principle of democracy in a remarkable way; therefore, it might be an important tool for populist politicians to concrete their preferences for the long term. In this study, my aim is to conceptualize the most highly contested issues regarding the legal nature of qualified laws, and to provide a deeper understanding of the interdependence between qualified laws and the separation of powers. This analysis might also clarify how qualified laws may serve the ambitions of populist political groups in certain specific circumstances. My contribution provides general theoretic considerations, and does not outline the particular constitutional frameworks in detail. I would rather just use the specific examples to demonstrate how the mechanism of qualified law works in practice as an instrument of constitutional law.

Open access

Abstract

This paper discusses whether the methods of restorative justice (RJ), broadly interpreted as alternatives to criminal proceedings and sanctions, are applicable to hate crimes. It builds on the premises that RJ methods are appropriate tools to deal with hate crimes and conflicts that arise from them, as there are social conflicts behind these actions that can be resolved by a sensitive and empathetic approach that focuses on restoration. However, there are dilemmas and factors where caution and an in-depth reflection should be observed to understand how these techniques can work well without further harming either party.

Open access