2001/5.

SUMMARY AND CONTENTS

János Varga-Attila Nagy-Béla Nagy:

Transmissible encelophaties of animals and related human diseases

Degenerating diseases of the central nervous system compiled under the name of transmissible spongioform encephalopathies (also known as prion diseases) are characterized by formation of large vacuoles and by a build up of cellular debris and pathologic prions ( amyloid plaques) in the brain. Prions are non essential cellular glycoproteins presented on the cellular membrane, with the ability to go through permanent malformation due to genetic mutation or due to catalitic conversion induced by some pathologic prions. According to our present knowledge, this induced malformation can take a form of classical infectious disease, where the only known infectious agent is the pathologic prion.

Different pathologic prions produce various diseases in animals and man which are listed in the paper. The most known human prion disease the Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (CJD) of which a variant has been discovered in 1996 in the UK (vCJD) characterized by younger age of the patients and differring pattern of brain lesions. The prion of vCJD seems to be the same as (or very similar to) the prion discovered in the UK in cattle (1982)suffering from a so called bovine spongioform encephalopathy (BSE) which later developed to a classical epidemic.

All available data indicate that the BSE epidemic was most possibly caused by feeding ruminant protein to ruminants through rendering, and it might have been transmitted to man by getting into the food chain and causing vCJD. Hungary is - so far - free from transmissible spongioform encephalopaties of animals and from vCJD of man. In order to maintain this disease free status several preventive measures have been applied and are now described in this paper.

Imre Bodó:

The ancient domestic animal breeds in Hungary

(Preservation of genetic diversity)

The preservation of genetic resources of domestic animals is relatively new compared to the protection of wild animals. Nowadays, after the Rio de Janeiro Conference (1992) preservation of non commercial domestic animal breeds threatened by extinction is moral obligation of all the governments taking care of their tradition. In this respect Hungary is one of the first countries all over the world, because this activity has been officially going on from the 1960es. In Hungary all those breeds are more or less preserved which survived after World War II. The preservation activity is subsidized and controlled by the government and protected by the law.

The following breeds are conserved in Hungary: The Hungarian Grey and Simmental cattle, the Nonius, Gidran, Furioso-North Star, Lipizzan, Shagya, Kisbér and Hutzul horse breeds, the Blond, the Reddish and the Swallow Bellied Mangalitsa pig, the White and Black Hortobágy Racka and the Gyimes Racka, the Tzigai and Cikta sheep, the Yellow, the White and Speckled Hungarian and Transsylvanian Naked Neck hen, the Frizzle Feathered goose, and the Bronz and Copper coloured turkey. Also the Hungarian Giant rabbit, twenty five pigeon and nine dog breeds are belonging to the list.

Besides the cultural arguments these breeds must be maintained for the unknown requirements of future centuries. Some of them, however has value producing special Hungarian products ("hungaricum") on the markets of Europe already now.

Klára Mészáros:

People´s Republic of China in the World

One of the most characteristic elements of the post-Cold War international relations is the increasing importance of China to both economic and strategic outcomes at the regional and global levels. China´s importance reflects the beyond world-average development of Chinese economy since 1979, its growing strategic and economic presence in the Asian Pacific Region. Political, economical and psychological factors and conditions all have to be taken into account when weighing the process of attainment. The PRC may aspire to and perhaps realize regional-wide primacy in East Asia and develop global influence rivaling that of the USA. Expanding great power potential creates the chance for China to get shares in the formation of the New World Order.

CONTENTS

Iván T. Berend: Romanticism - nationalism - modernization

János Varga - Attila Nagy - Béla Nagy: The BSE syndrome

Imre Bodó: The ancient domestic animal breeds in Hungary

Klára Mészáros: People's Republic of China in the World

Research and environment

Imre Kádár: The pollution of soils with heavy metals and microelements

Ideas and values

László Molnár: The role of ethics in technical development

The scientific workshop

Debates and opinions

Remarks to the perspective of Hungarian natural geography (Ferenc Probáld)

Machine design and the role of the development of manufacturing technology in today's industrial strategy (László Gribovszki - József Tóth)

Decimal comma or decimal point? (Gábor Náray-Szabó - Bálint Sztáray)

Notes

Neurobiologist Péter Somogyi - member of the Royal Society (Tamás Freund - István Benedeczky)

Pendlebury's list (Tibor Braun)

History of science

László Filep: Hungarian mathematics in Transylvania

Obituaries

Book review

Books received


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