On Saturday, May 15, we commemorate the Day of the Fight against Stroke. St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, together with the Sarema Rehabilitation Center, prepared a live broadcast on the topic on her Facebook page. Stroke is the second most common cause of death in the world. Every fourth person is at risk and affects patients regardless of age. There are no exceptional cases where the stroke affected the mother during childbirth, the patient with COVID-19 or the driver while driving. It is important to get to the hospital as soon as possible and start intensive rehabilitation as soon as possible after treatment.

Head of the Stroke research team of the The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno and professor of neurology Robert Mikulík emphasizes that patients should not be transported to the hospital on their own axis. “If the patient travels on his own, he may arrive at the hospital without a stroke center, which provides comprehensive care for patients with cerebrovascular problems. On the contrary, when he dials 155, the rescuers themselves will contact a suitable doctor or medical facility, ”says prof. MUDr. Robert Mikulík, Ph.D., who, in addition to the research center, also works at the 1st Department of Neurology, FNUSA and LF MU.

If stroke treatment is to be effective, it must be started as soon as possible, ideally within 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms. Time is crucial for a stroke. The sooner the patient enters the hospital, the higher his chances of recovery. Professor Mikulík also draws attention to an interesting phenomenon, namely the direct connection between COVID-19 and the occurrence of stroke. “Although it has already been shown that COVID-19 can cause stroke and the number of patients should increase, we paradoxically recorded about 15% fewer cases in the hospital during the spring of 2020,” he points out that people should not risk serious consequences and during a pandemic seek professional help.

Equally important is the early start of intensive rehabilitation, as explained by Mgr. Tereza Valíková from the Sarema Rehabilitation Center: “The sooner we start, the sooner we will address the brain and neuroplastic processes. When we start later, we often encounter patients who have already developed poor compensatory habits, which are more difficult to break down, ”he says. Thanks to the start of intensive rehabilitation in time, Mrs. Eliška, who suffered a hemorrhagic stroke during childbirth, is also slowly returning to life. “Eliška had a tumor in her head that was not known. Apparently, due to the pressure at birth, there was bleeding from the tumor and a large swelling of the brain. She fell into a coma at night. After midnight, she was taken by ambulance to the hospital and operated there urgently. The tumor was successfully removed, but the swelling of the brain managed to do great damage, “recalls Eliška’s husband, Petr. His wife is now training intensively at the Sarema Rehabilitation Center and is making great progress, which you can follow on the website www.proelisku.cz. However, due to long-term stays in therapies, she cannot see her two sons as often as she would like.
“Complete cure depends on several factors, such as the extent, age and timeliness of care. Therefore, if you suspect a stroke, contact emergency services immediately. The consequences do not have to be any or minimal, ”adds Tereza Valíková.

For more information, on Saturday 15 May at 5 pm, those interested can “tune in” to a webinar called The Story of a Stroke: The Patient’s Journey. They will learn what the first minutes of a patient look like after arriving at the hospital and how to properly rehabilitate the brain. Just join the event at this link , or the Facebook page of FNUSA-ICRC or FNUSA, who will share the broadcast.

Kardiovize research team of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) has published a new publication dealing with visceral fat. This is the first such published study in Europe.

The new Kardiovize publication deals with visceral fat, ie fat stores that are stored around vital organs. “It turned out that we can’t use the values of visceral fat defined by colleagues in the USA or Japan to determine cardiovascular risk. The local population has very different values, “said the head of the FNUSA-ICRC Kardiovize research team, dr. Juan Pablo Gonzalez Rivas. The publication was published in the professional journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

A young researcher, Anna Polcrová, who studied Nutritional Therapy at the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University, Social Epidemiology at the Faculty of Science of Charles University and continued her studies at Masaryk University while working in the Kardiovize team. “Body fat can be stored in the human body in various areas. In principle, we distinguish between subcutaneous fat, which is located under the skin, and visceral fat, which is located inside the abdominal cavity and surrounds our organs. It is the placement of fat stores in the body that significantly affects its impact on our health. Previous research has found that fat placed under the skin is not as risky as visceral fat, because excess visceral fat is associated with metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance, diabetes II. type, increased risk of thrombosis or endothelial dysfunction, ie disorders of the inner lining of blood vessels. ”

And how is the level of visceral fat in the human body actually measured? A generally accepted standard method is computed tomography, which is, however, relatively expensive and exposes the patient to radioactive radiation. “We used bioelectrical impedance analysis in the patients in the study, which has the advantage of simplicity, speed and also lower costs. It is non-invasive and shows a strong correlation with the values measured by computed tomography. The bioimpedance method is based on weak electricity flowing through the body and measurements to calculate impedance (resistance), which allows to describe the composition of the human body, including areas of visceral fat. Although it may sound dangerous, this method is completely painless and can be used for people of any age. The only contraindication is the presence of a pacemaker or pregnancy, “added Anna Polcrová.

To create this analysis, the researchers used the data of 2052 participants in the long-term study Kardiovize, which is ongoing at FNUSA-ICRC. Since 2013, it has been monitoring the health of a sample of the Brno population aged 25-65, and the second wave of examinations will be completed this year. “Our results showed that the limit values of visceral fat related to cardiometabolic risk in the Czech population are different in comparison with previous studies in other populations. We observed that 90 cm2 limits in men and 109 cm2 in women were associated with the presence of cardiometabolic risk factors including high waist circumference, increased blood pressure, decreased HDL-cholesterol (so-called “good” cholesterol), elevated triglycerides and elevated glucose levels on an empty stomach. In addition, men had a higher risk of cardiometabolic complications with lower visceral fat levels compared to women. Briefly, the results showed that the distinction between high and low visceral fat and associated cardiometabolic risk must be based on population-specific cut-off values, while taking into account gender differences. The amount of adipose tissue in the body, which is assessed as the norm for women, can be considered risky for men. And it works the same way among members of different ethnicities, “added Anna Polcrová.

It should be added that a new study by the Kardiovize research team was also selected for publication in the form of an e-poster at the prestigious European Congress on Obesity. A total of 330 e-posters were received (three from FNUSA-ICRC), but only 20 of them were selected for oral presentation, two of them from FNUSA-ICRC. Among them is also the work of Anna Polcrová.

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From 2016 to 2020 the International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) was financed mainly from the National Sustainability Program (the NPU II project). At the end of this period, a final evaluation took place, where members of the opponent board from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports together with opponents from numerous other prestigious foreign institutions evaluated the project as excellent and with an international impact. FNUSA-ICRC´s scientists thus met the goals set by the contract and achieved excellent, internationally recognized results.

Within five years, FNUSA-ICRC has received subsidies from the NPU II project with the total amount of CZK 985 million. The final report states that the Center has made significant progress towards being an internationally competitive and sustainable, multidisciplinary center of excellence in translational medicine. Both in clinical and basic research.

The final report emphasizes, inter alia, that in 2020, FNUSA-ICRC continued to develop despite the unusual and unpredictable situation associated with COVID-19. “It should be noted that we had to restrict access to laboratories, and many scientists, nurses as well as administrators devoted their time to helping patients, working in test centers or supporting other hospital services,” said Pavel Iványi, MBA, LL.M., CEO of the Center. “That is why I think we´re talking about an extraordinary result and I thank everyone who made a contribution.”

In addition to all commitments being fulfilled and results achieved, the Board of Opponents also highlighted FNUSA-ICRC´s support of mobility (supporting students and enabling them to acquire new abilities, knowledge and skills) – 943 students from all over the world took part in the project and positively acknowledged the cooperation, for example in the form of joint grants. The number of implemented clinical trials is also exceptional, mainly because FNUSA-ICRC is the only so-called Prime Site in the Czech Republic for the global IQVIA group. Just to give an idea – there are currently 170 clinical trials in progress.

Many scientific outputs of FNUSA-ICRC have been published in leading international journals and are considered key in their respective scientific fields. For example, several articles appeared in the Top 10 ranking scientific journals, an average of 17% of the total number of FNUSA-ICRC´s publications to be exact and an average of 8% appeared in the Top 5. FNUSA-ICRC researchers have published their articles in Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Neurology, Nature Reviews Neurology, etc.

The evaluation report also contains several recommendations for the future. In particular, greater deepening of cooperation in the international field, with domestic universities, and a continued involvement of students in scientific projects. “We are aware of all these challenges and we are working on them. For example, we are negotiating with Masaryk University to deepen our cooperation,“ said director Iványi. “We are also trying to fine-tune the funding system with our founder, the Ministry of Health, so that we can ensure certainty of function for already established international scientific teams and the Center itself.”

The main goal of the NPU II project was to enable FNUSA-ICRC to develop its existing scientific potential in basic, translational and clinical research. Especially focusing on fields of cardiovascular, neuroscience and oncological research, medical biology, biomedical engineering, molecular biology and stem cells. A clear advantage is the connection to St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, which provides direct access to a large demographic of patients. This creates optimal conditions for translational medical research, focusing on various diseases (including cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, sleep disorders, stroke, dementia and cancer).

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Feeling lonely, worried about the health of their loved ones and stress from an unstable situation. The pandemic of the COVID-19 disease affected not only the physical health of the population, but also the mental health, which has now been confirmed by research in which researchers from the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) and the American Mayo Clinic.

The researchers analyzed the impact of the pandemic and related restrictive measures on mental health in the participants of the Kardiovize project, a study that has been examining the local level of health for a long time on a population sample of one percent of the city of Brno. 715 Brno residents took part in the analysis of changes in mental health during the first hard lockdown in the spring of 2020, when, in addition to services, the borders of the Czech Republic were closed. “The results showed that the incidence of increased stress and depressive symptoms increased 1.4 to 5.5times compared to the period before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said PhDr. Jan Sebastian Novotný, Ph.D., first author of an international study and member of the Translational Neuroscience and Aging Program Research group FNUSA-ICRC. “This deterioration manifested itself in all age groups and was more pronounced in women,” he added.

The study also showed that, despite a comparable deterioration in all age groups during the pandemic, younger grades suffered more mentally, which may be due to work or study insecurity, and thus financial instability. At the same time, richer life experiences and lower expectations can be expected for older age groups, which also contributes to higher mental resilience in general. The main risk factors for deteriorating mental health have been feelings of loneliness, perceptions of COVID-19 as threatening, and some negative effects on lifestyle – such as the financial effects of restrictive measures, lack of exercise or deterioration in sleep quality. On the contrary, a higher level of resilience, ie the ability to maintain a standard level of functioning despite adverse circumstances, proved to be a protective factor.

“The observed increase in the incidence of stress and depressive symptoms as well as many identified risk factors can be prevented, diagnosed and treated. It is therefore necessary to respond to these findings in a timely and targeted manner by setting up appropriate psychological and psychiatric help so as to reduce the risk of a subsequent pandemic of mental disorders in the population, “said Jan Sebastian Novotný.

The FNUSA-ICRC research team continues the study, its goal is to capture the long-term effects on the mental health of Brno residents.

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This year, the annual awareness-raising event on the occasion of World Stroke Day held by the Cerebrovascular Research Team of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno will turns into a projection on a screen. On Tuesday, October 27, immerse yourself in the world of stroke from the safety of your smartphones or computer monitors – served unpackaged by us, patients and experts. 3 panels, 12 parts, 300 minutes full of suspense, rare shots and meetings with people who will give you comprehensive information.

It will be possible to follow the entire program on the Facebook pages of the educational project HOBIT, which the research team is running. The selected videos will then also be placed on Youtube. “In cooperation with doctors, patients and other experts, we have prepared a unique program for viewers, which will acquaint them with the issue of stroke in a fun and interactive way,” said the event organizer Ing. Hana Maršálková.

Those interested can virtually walk through the premises of the FNUSA-ICRC Cerebrovascular Team, take part in an online yoga lesson or compete for original prizes. The agenda will also include a lecture on how to safely recognize a stroke, how to react to it, how to reduce its risk and not become a patient. “We will guide viewers on how to measure the values which are a risk factor for stroke at home. We also provide unique behind-the-scenes footage of a stroke patient with accompanying specialist commentary, and the online stream will be answered by a neurologist and a patient after a stroke, “added Hana Maršálková to the program of the event.

The program will be attended, for example, by prof. MUDr. Robert Mikulík, Ph.D., pioneer of modern treatment of stroke, MUDr. Ondřej Volný, Ph.D., holder of the prestigious Danubius Young Scientis Award in the field of stroke research and many other experts. The event was also financially supported by the Brno-střed district.

A stroke affects every other person. 2 million brain cells die in a minute. Take an interest. Turn on the Facebook project HOBIT on October 27 at 10 am and get vital information first hand.

 

St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno started the trial operation of the second laboratory this week. The laboratory was established to support the existing one due to the increasing demand for evaluation of PCR tests for COVID-19 disease. Laboratory technicians use a new diagnostic method for testing.

The laboratory will be able to process up to 500 samples per day. At the end of October, it could be at least 1000 samples. This is thanks to new methods and procedures that offer a comprehensive, safe and fast solution for laboratory diagnostics of COVID-19. “The big advantage is the use of collection kits with a solution that immediately inactivates viruses and at the same time keeps samples stable for the diagnostics themselves. This provides greater safety for medical and laboratory staff – they do not have to work in respirators and protective clothing – and also speeds up the handling of samples, “said Mgr. Milada Dvorackova, Ph.D. from the Institute of Microbiology of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno and LF MU.

The new laboratory operates on the hospital premises in the premises of the International Clinical Research Center, and several employees of the center also assist in it. “We trained selected laboratory technicians from the Institute of Microbiology for the new method. The involvement of staff and postgraduate students of the International Clinical Research Center (FNUSA-ICRC) and further cooperation with this center will also help us a lot with the operation of the laboratory. A significant increase in testing capacity at the FNUSA Institute of Microbiology enabled the addition of instrumentation, the use of new modern and faster procedures, and especially the automation and digitization of the entire proces,”Said the head of the FNUSA Institute of Microbiology and LF MU prof. MUDr. Filip Růžička, Ph.D. and added that thanks to the increase in sample processing capacity, the St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno to offer these services to other medical facilities.
“We were looking for a reliable system that could process a large number of samples. The new diagnostic procedure, developed and put into practice by researchers from Charles University, shows the optimal ratio of price, speed and quality of examination. We hope that this will help not only our hospital, but also those around us, “added the director of the St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák.

Of course, the laboratory will remain functional even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital will use high-capacity PCR testing and offer it to other medical facilities – such as tests for TB, borrelia, influenza, hepatitis and many others.

 

International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) received 130 million CZK from the budget of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic for its research in 2021. So far, the center does not have to limit its activities in any way and can continue to develop its successful projects.

When in June this year, the International Clinical Research Center was visited by a ministerial commission headed by prof. Roman Prymula, the current Minister of Health, had a reason for that. Among other things, its members wanted to get acquainted in more detail with the functioning of the center and its scientific activities. The Commission evaluated the visit very positively, the result of their evaluation is the current financial support in the amount of 130 million CZK for 2021, guaranteeing the continuation of all existing research. “We are just happy for that. FNUSA-ICRC is a unique center of clinical research, directly associated with medical facilities. It would certainly be a pity if the research in it was to be limited due to lack of funds,” said the director of the  St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák.

“I am convinced that this support is mainly due to the excellent results of our scientists. I would like to thank them for their work and support even at a time when funding was uncertain. I appreciate this and I hope that the financial resources will allow us to fully build on existing basic and clinical research and further develop it, whether in the field of cardiology, neurology and many others,” added  Pavel Iványi, LL.M. ., MBA., CEO of FNUSA-ICRC.

 

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The contract for the construction of a joint workplace of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) and the Veterinary Research Institute I. (VRI), were signed by the representatives of these two institutions – the director of FNUSA Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák and prof. MVDr. Alfred Hera, CSc., Who is in charge of managing VRI.

The joint workplace will be located in the Veterinary Research Institute. “This is an exceptional project which, thanks to the quality infrastructure and professional expertise of the research institute, will significantly advance preclinical research in our hospital, especially in the field of animal models and laboratory analyzes. It will be, for example, testing new therapeutic approaches or new medical technologies for the treatment of cardiac patients, specifically I can mention the further development of our patent – an electroporation generator for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, “said the director of the St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák.

“With this step, both organizations have continued the successful cooperation so far. The new joint workplace will be used by researchers of partner institutions, while the costs of their work are covered by each of the contracting parties and they participate in its operation together, “commented prof. MVDr. Alfred Hera, CSc.
“The development and implementation of studies using animal models for veterinary and human preclinical testing is one of the key goals of the medium-term concept of VRI as a departmental research institution,” specified by the Veterinary Research Institute MVDr. Martin Faldyna, Ph.D.

“Our International Clinical Research Center is investing its experts and infrastructure in a joint project to address issues related to basic and preclinical research in the field of cardiology and neurology. We assume that the most significant benefit of this workplace will be the successful solution of multidisciplinary projects with an extension from human medicine to veterinary medicine, “added the director of the International Center for Clinical Research FNUSA Pavel Iványi, LL.M., MBA.

The next task of mutual cooperation will be to create a schedule of joint experiments for the coming semester. The first of them will take place in December this year.

IOn photo (from left): MVDr. Martin Faldyna, Ph.D., Pavel Iványi MBA, LL.M.,Ing. Ildikó Csölle Putzová, Ph.D., MBA, Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák, prof. MVDr. Alfred Hera, CSc., MVDr. Eduard Göpfert, Ph.D.

 

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death on the Earth. Although modern medicine is able to avert many of their fatal consequences, prevention and eventually an informed prompt reaction remain absolutely crucial. That is why in 2000 the World Heart Day was declared by the World Federation of Hearts and the World Health Organization on September 29.

This year, cardiovascular diseases should be given even more attention to the fact that at the time of the pandemic COVID-19, cardiac patients face a double threat. They are more at risk when exposed to a new type of coronavirus, which in turn may lead to dangerous delays in seeking help. With this year’s subtitle #UseHeart, the campaign encourages, among other things, people to listen to their hearts and not allow COVID-19 to prevent their health care.

Likewise, people should „use heart“ in their lifestyle choices. „Prevention of heart diseases is relatively simple: do not smoke, consume alcohol only in small doses (1-3 dl / day better every day), maintain a reasonable weight, a healthy diet with reduced animal fat and exercise – ideal is fast walking, cycling and swimming,“ says prof. MUDr. Jiří Vítovec, CSc., FESC, from I. Department of Internal Cardioangiology, St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno and MF MU. He adds that the public should not neglect regular checks of blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar. „It goes without saying that viruses and other diseases do not pass through,“ warns the cardiologist.

Cardiovascular diseases are also one of the main directions of research in The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC). The development of new diagnostic procedures and treatment methods is dealt with by the teams Acute Coronary Syndromes, Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology (info about Czech patent here) or Cardiovascular system – mechanobiology and others.

One of the projects is Kardiovize Brno 2030, which is the only cardiovascular prevention program in Central and Eastern Europe based on population analysis. You can read about the main goals of the project in an interview here.

The other one, HOBIT, runed by Stroke Team, also helps with education in the field of cardiovascular diseases and it aims primarily on children. „There are several reasons why. Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, are affecting younger and younger people. It is therefore important to educate them not only about prevention, but also about the manifestations and the correct response to the disease,“ explains the program coordinator Ing. Hana Maršálková.

The HOBIT did not stop even in times of crisis, it went online and it is possible to complete it remotely. „The program is freely available to all schools and is also completely undemanding. After registration, the teacher passes the access data to the students, starts e-learning and then just enjoys the results of the class. For teachers who are interested in cardio and cerebrovascular diseases, however, we have prepared an accredited course in cooperation with the MU Faculty of Education, which will take place remotely on 15 October and 24 November, ”added Hana Maršálková.

 

The International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) is likely to be one of the institutions in which the COVID-19 vaccine will be tested. The center is now negotiating with the manufacturer to carry out the study, which should be performed with hundreds of volunteers.

Research to find an effective vaccine against COVID-19 is currently underway around the world. The World Health Organization registers 169 candidate vaccines, 26 of which are already in the final stages of testing. “A clinical study should take place in Brno in the third phase, when the vaccine is tested on a large number of volunteers and therefore a large number of side effects are not expected,” said Pavel Iványi, CEO of the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno.

The FNUSA-ICRC Clinical Trials Department conducts dozens of studies at all stages. In the third phase, the vaccine and parts of the placebo are usually given to a sample of volunteers. Subsequently, the occurrence of possible side effects is observed, either through electronic questionnaires or regular check-ups with a doctor. “Vaccination studies are a great challenge for us, so far no similar one has taken place here,” said Ing. Lucie Tesárková, Head of Clinical Trials Department FNUSA-ICRC. “We would of course be happy for this opportunity and we take it as a kind of confirmation that our hospital is medically at a very high level,” added Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák, director of the St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno.

About testing a vaccine against COVID-19 at the International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno will decide in the coming weeks. In case of a positive response, the center will list the recruitment of volunteers.

 

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