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Concept: Slovenia


OBJECTIVE: /st>To study the psychometric properties of a translated version of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture (HSOPSC) in the Slovenian setting. DESIGN: /st>A cross-sectional psychometric study including principal component and confirmatory factor analysis. The percentage of positive responses for the 12 dimensions (42 items) of patient safety culture and differences at unit and hospital-level were calculated. SETTING: /st>Three acute general hospitals. PARTICIPANTS: /st>Census of clinical and non-clinical staff (n = 976). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: /st>Model fit, internal consistency and scale score correlations. RESULTS: /st>Principal component analysis showed a 9-factor model with 39 items would be appropriate for a Slovene sample, but a Satorra-Bentler scaled χ(2) difference test demonstrated that the 12-factor model fitted Slovene data significantly better. Internal consistency was found to be at an acceptable level. Most of the relationships between patient safety culture dimensions were strong to moderate. The relationship between all 12 dimensions and the patient safety grade was negative. The unit-level dimensions of patient safety were perceived better than the dimensions at the hospital-level. CONCLUSION: /st>The original 12-factor model for the HSOPSC was a good fit for a translated version of the instrument for use in the Slovene setting.

Concepts: Patient safety, Confirmatory factor analysis, Safety, Slovenia, Hospital, Principal component analysis, Psychometrics, Factor analysis


Piroplasmosis are among the most relevant diseases of domestic animals. Babesia is emerging as cause of tick-borne zoonosis worldwide and free-living animals are reservoir hosts of several zoonotic Babesia species. We investigated the epidemiology of Babesia spp. and Theileria spp. in wild ungulates and carnivores from Northern Italy to determine which of these apicomplexan species circulate in wildlife and their prevalence of infection.

Concepts: Apicomplexa, Babesia, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Alps, Disease, Italy


Radiotherapy is used for cure or palliation in around half of patients with cancer. We analysed data on radiotherapy equipment in 33 European countries registered in the Directory of Radiotherapy Centres (DIRAC) database, managed by the International Atomic Energy Agency. As of July, 2012, Europe had 1286 active radiotherapy centres. The average number of teletherapy machines per radiotherapy centre ranged from 1·2 to 7·0 in different countries. Nordic countries, the UK, the Netherlands, and Slovenia all have large centres with four to ten teletherapy machines. Most western and southern European countries have several small centres with one or two machines, with few larger centres. The fragmentation in radiotherapy services that prevails in many European countries might affect the economic burden of radiotherapy and its quality. Eastern and southeastern European countries need to expand and modernise their radiotherapy equipment.

Concepts: NATO, Slovenia, European Union, Eastern Europe, Netherlands, Northern Europe, Europe, International Atomic Energy Agency


25 years after the discovery in the Ötztal Italian Alps, the 5,300-year-old mummy keeps providing key information on human biological and medical conditions, aspects of everyday life and societal organization in the Copper Age. The hand axe found with the body of the Alpine Iceman is one of the rare copper objects that is firmly dated to the early Copper Age because of the radiocarbon dating of the axe wooden shaft. Here we report the measurement of the lead isotope ratios of the copper blade. The results unambiguously indicate that the source of the metal is the ore-rich area of Southern Tuscany, despite ample evidence that Alpine copper ore sources were known and exploited at the time. The experimental results are discussed within the framework of all the available coeval archaeometallurgical data in Central-Southern Europe: they show that the Alps were a neat cultural barrier separating distinct metal circuits. The direct evidence of raw metal or object movement between Central Italy and the Alps is surprising and provides a new perspective on long-distance relocation of goods and relationships between the early Copper Age cultures in the area. The result is in line with the recent investigations re-evaluating the timing and extent of copper production in Central Italy in the 4th millennium BC.

Concepts: Austria, Slovenia, Tin, Isotope, Alps, Italy, Axe, Copper


In surveillance of subterranean fauna, especially in the case of rare or elusive aquatic species, traditional techniques used for epigean species are often not feasible. We developed a non-invasive survey method based on environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect the presence of the red-listed cave-dwelling amphibian, Proteus anguinus, in the caves of the Dinaric Karst. We tested the method in fifteen caves in Croatia, from which the species was previously recorded or expected to occur. We successfully confirmed the presence of P. anguinus from ten caves and detected the species for the first time in five others. Using a hierarchical occupancy model we compared the availability and detection probability of eDNA of two water sampling methods, filtration and precipitation. The statistical analysis showed that both availability and detection probability depended on the method and estimates for both probabilities were higher using filter samples than for precipitation samples. Combining reliable field and laboratory methods with robust statistical modeling will give the best estimates of species occurrence.

Concepts: Croatia, Official statistics, Survey sampling, Probability, Statistics, Applied mathematics, Probability theory, Slovenia


Moss samples from four dominant species (Hypnum cupressiforme, Pleurozium schreberi, Homalothecium sericeum and Brachythecium rutabulum) were collected during the summer and autumn of 2010 from 121 sampling sites evenly distributed over the territory of Croatia. Samples were totally digested by using microwave digestion system, whilst mercury was analysed by using cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS). Descriptive statistics were done from analyses of mercury in all moss samples. The content of mercury ranged from 0.010 to 0.145 mg kg(-1) with a median value of 0.043 mg kg(-1). Hg distribution map shows the sites of the country with higher levels of this element. High contents of Hg were found in moss samples collected from the regions of Podravina and Istria as a result of anthropogenic pollution. Comparison of median values and ranges with those found in moss samples in 2006 shows slight reduction of mercury air pollution. When compared to the results obtained from recent studies conducted in Slovenia, Macedonia and especially in Norway-which serves as a reference considering the fact that it is a pristine area-mercury air pollution in Croatia is insignificant.

Concepts: Slovenia, Global warming, Croatia, Atomic absorption spectroscopy, Mosses, Spectroscopy, Median, Digestion


A multidisciplinary approach was used to estimate the pollution level of the marine environment in the North Eastern Adriatic by measurement of the isotopic composition of carbon and nitrogen (δ(13)C, δ(15)N), metal/metalloids analyses (Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd and Pb, including As speciation) in the Mytilus galloprovincialis, as well by using metallothioneins (MT) concentrations, micronuclei (MN) in gill cells and biological parameters (condition index and gonadosomatic index). Concentrations of MT were in the range from 44 to 175μgg(-1) wet matter tissue and were higher at the end of the winter season. The frequency of MN did not indicate an elevated level. Sewage sludge pollution was not confirmed. Elevated As concentrations in mussel are related to salinity and low nutrients concentrations and not to pollution. Elevated concentrations of Cu, Zn and Pb were found in the Bay of Koper in comparison with the Bays of Strunjan and Piran.

Concepts: Piran, Sludge, Istria, Ecology, Gulf of Trieste, Slovenia, Trieste, Adriatic Sea


We monitored trace metals and nitrogen using naturally growing moss Hypnum cupressiforme Hedw. in urban and peri-urban forests of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. The aim of this study was to explore the differences in atmospheric deposition of trace metals and nitrogen between urban and peri-urban forests. Samples were collected at a total of 44 sites in urban forests (forests within the motorway ring road) and peri-urban forests (forests outside the motorway ring road). Mosses collected in urban forests showed increased trace metal concentrations compared to samples collected from peri-urban forests. Higher values were significant for As, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Tl and V. Within the motorway ring road, the notable differences in element concentrations between the two urban forests were significant for Cr, Ni and Mo. Factor analysis showed three groups of elements, highlighting the contribution of traffic emissions, individual heating appliances and the resuspension of contaminated soils and dust as the main sources of trace elements in urban forests.

Concepts: Slovenia, Traffic, Mosses, Copper, Iron, Nitrogen, Metal, Chemical element


Europe’s obligate cave-dwelling amphibian Proteus anguinus inhabits subterranean waters of the north-western Balkan Peninsula. Because only fragments of its habitat are accessible to humans, this endangered salamander’s exact distribution has been difficult to establish. Here we introduce a quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction-based environmental DNA (eDNA) approach to detect the presence of Proteus using water samples collected from karst springs, wells or caves. In a survey conducted along the southern limit of its known range, we established a likely presence of Proteus at seven new sites, extending its range to Montenegro. Next, using specific molecular probes to discriminate the rare black morph of Proteus from the closely related white morph, we detected its eDNA at five new sites, thus more than doubling the known number of sites. In one of these we found both black and white Proteus eDNA together. This finding suggests that the two morphs may live in contact with each other in the same body of groundwater and that they may be reproductively isolated species. Our results show that the eDNA approach is suitable and efficient in addressing questions in biogeography, evolution, taxonomy and conservation of the cryptic subterranean fauna.

Concepts: Chromosome, Biology, Croatia, Molecular biology, Salamander, Species, DNA, Slovenia


Extra-Mediterranean glacial refugia of thermophilic biota, in particular in northern latitudes, are controversial. In the present study we provide genetic evidence for extra-Mediterranean refugia in two species of grass snake. The refuge of a widely distributed western European lineage of the barred grass snake (Natrix helvetica) was most likely located in southern France, outside the classical refuges in the southern European peninsulas. One genetic lineage of the common grass snake (N. natrix), distributed in Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Balkan Peninsula, had two distinct glacial refuges. We show that one was located in the southern Balkan Peninsula. However, Central Europe and Scandinavia were not colonized from there, but from a second refuge in Central Europe. This refuge was located in between the northern ice sheet and the Alpine glaciers of the last glaciation and most likely in a permafrost region. Another co-distributed genetic lineage of N. natrix, now massively hybridizing with the aforementioned lineage, survived the last glaciation in a structured refuge in the southern Balkan Peninsula, according to the idea of ‘refugia-within-refugia’. It reached Central Europe only very recently. This study reports for the first time the glacial survival of a thermophilic egg-laying reptile species in Central Europe.

Concepts: Serbia, Europe, Slovenia, Eastern Europe, Romania, Western Europe, Northern Europe, Central Europe