2020 – ANNUS HORRIBILIS
We would like to begin this Editorial by reminding our readers of the title of our last Editorial (RAD 50-51, 2020), which read: Pandemic and 2020 Zagreb Earthquake Didn’t Stop Us. It was indeed so, and one of the proofs thereof is this issue of our journal (RAD 52- 53, 2020), which is before you right now. Nevertheless, it needs mentioning that, although the pandemic did not stop us, it certainly did slow us down mentally and wear us out physically. We were rather optimistic in our last Editorial, when we proudly stressed the fact that in Croatia, we had managed to put the virus under control (quote: And now, after putting the virus under control…). Unfortunately, this period of control lasted relatively briefly, i.e. only during the summer months; at this moment, i.e. in early December 2020, the pan- demic is nearly beyond any control. We are seriously worried whether our health care system will have the strength to cope with the pressure of the high number of new patients in need of hospitalization. We believe in our health care professionals and firmly hope that all our citizens will finally begin adhering to the prescribed epidemiological measures, which will then result in the relaxation of the enormous pressure on our hospital sys- tem and our health care professionals. They are striving to take a breath of air metaphorically, the same that they are fighting to achieve in their patients literally. Members of the Department of Medical Sciences – ei- ther within the organizational units of the Croatian Academy or within their institutions of work – en-deavour to contribute to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. In the last issue of our journal RAD, we proudly stressed the fact that on 14 February 2020 (one month before that, the WHO declared the global pandemic), the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts organized the symposium entitled New Corona virus from China: Biosecurity Threat and Challenge for Health Care Professionals. On 17 March 2020, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts published the state- ment related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Members of our Academy have continued to take active part in and render assistance to the fight against this evil virus. In this respect, we would like to draw our readers’ atten- tion to the column NEWS and EDUCATION in our journal, where they may find descriptions of the sym- posia dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic. We would particularly like to emphasize major efforts of Professor Daniel Rukavina, full member of the Croatian Acad- emy, and his team at the University of Rijeka, which have so far organized five symposia united under the title Covid-19 Messages. The titles of individual sympo- sia are as follows: Advancement in Virology Research – an Opportunity to Improve International Impact of the Uni- versity of Rijeka; Higher Education in Covid-19 Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities; Stem for Human Species Survival; Brave New World: Democracy, Rights and Jus- tice in Covid-19 Era; Covid-19 from Student Perspective: Impact, Analysis and Recommendations. Furthermore, the 4th Rijeka Forum on Neurodegenerative Diseases, chaired by assist. professor Vladimira Vuletić, M.D., Ph.D. and Professor Daniel Rukavina, full member of the Croatian Academy, was organized and held in Rijeka. The Committee for Animal and Comparative Pathology of our Department held in late November
2020 the symposium entitled Sars-CoV-2 within the Concept One Health, which was chaired by Professor Jo- sip Madić, full member of the Croatian Academy. The Department of Medical Sciences of the Croatian Acad- emy of Sciences and Arts organized the symposium en- titled COVID-19 Today and Tomorrow – Medical Aspects, which was held on 3rd December 2020 and chaired by Professors Davor Miličić and Slobodan Vukičević, full members of the Croatian Academy. In this issue, we would furthermore like to draw our readers’ attention to the paper entitled Hyperferritinemia and COVID-19? (1), with which we continue our recent tradition of pub- lishing at least one original paper or review article dedi- cated to the Covid-19 problem issues.
Apart from the Covid-19 topic, which is emphasized in our journal due to the current global situation, there are also papers covering other topics that need point- ing out – e.g. the original paper entitled Post-traumatic stress disorder and ischaemic stroke severity (2). Particu- larly worth mentioning is the review article entitled Bone morphogenetic proteins: From discovery to develop- ment of a novel autologous bone graft substitute consist- ing of recombinant human BMP6 delivered in autologous blood coagulum carrier (3). In addition to a survey of the existing knowledge on the topic listed in the world medical literature, this article offers a survey of the summarized new knowledge acquired by the authors and published in journals of world renown. The article furthermore states the latest discoveries made by Pro- fessor Slobodan Vukičević, full member of the Croa- tian Academy, Professor Lovorka Grgurević, associate member of the Croatian Academy and Dr. Hermann Oppermann the Head of BMP-6 manifacturing and scientific team – the so-called Zagreb BMP Group.
We are introducing a novelty as from this issue of our journal: a new column entitled Interviews with Corre- sponding Members of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Department of Medical Sciences. Thanks to the effort of Dr. Ivan Damjanov, Emeritus Professor of Pa- thology at the School of Medicine of the University of Kansas, Kansas City, USA, every issue will – in the form of interview – present globally acknowledged doctors of medicine who graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zagreb, and have been elected mem- bers of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. This column has been enabled thanks to the cooperation with the journal of the Faculty of Medicine of the Univer- sity of Zagreb (mef.hr), which has introduced a column in Croatian entitled Illustrissimi alumni of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zagreb.
The year nearing its end has been extremely difficult – it might even be called a horrible year. It has been es- pecially horrible for the Covid-19 patients, but also for health care professionals, who care for the hospitalized patients and often find themselves in situations where it is impossible for them to save the patients’ lives. This year was furthermore difficult for the Croatian Academy and its employees, since many offices were destroyed in the earthquake-damaged Academy build- ings. Nevertheless, we may proudly state that we have managed to swiftly reorganize and adjust ourselves so as to be able to continue operating. In this regard, it needs mentioning that in November 2020, for the first time in the history of the Croatian Academy, the Acad- emy Assembly successfully held the elections for new members online.
The year 2020 has been a difficult one for the entire mankind. However, around the time of the publication of this issue, the Covid-19 vaccination will commence. Let this year never be repeated, and let us be neither impatient nor frustrated for not yet having in its entire- ty comprehended the nature of the virus that has been causing us so many health-bound and economy-related inconveniences. In this context, we would like to con- clude our Editorial by quoting Seneca:
Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced … Nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all. (Seneca, Naturales questiones, 1st century AD)
1. Čepelak I, Dodig S, Vučenik I.Hyperferritinemia and COVID-19? RAD CASA – Medical Sciences. 544=52-53 (2020)
2. Rutović S, Kadojić D,Bašić S, Malojčić B. Post-traumatic stress disorder and ischaemic stroke severity. RAD CASA – Medical Sci- ences. 544=52-53 (2020)
3. Vukicevic S, Peric M, Oppermann H, Stokovic N, Ivanjko N, Erjavec I, Kufner V, Vnuk D, Bubic-Spoljar J, Pecin M, et al. Bone morphogenetic proteins: From discovery to development of a novel autologous bone graft substitute consisting of recombinant human BMP6 delivered in autologous blood coagulum carrier. RAD CASA – Medical Sciences. 544=52-53 (2020)