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Sheep toxin could be linked to MS
“There is a growing body of wider evidence that points to a hypothesis linking MS and ETX".

Discovery could lead to new tests and treatments 

Scientists say exposure to a toxin found in sheep could be linked to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) in humans.

A study by the University of Exeter and MS Sciences Ltd found that people with MS are more likely to have antibodies against the epsilon toxin (ETX), which suggests they have been exposed to it at some point.

ETX is produced in the gut of livestock by the bacterium, Clostridium perfringens. Whilst it can occur in other animals and even soil, it has primarily been studied as a cause of enterotoxaemia in sheep.

Researchers found 43 per cent of patients with MS were positive for antibodies to ETX, compared to 16 per cent of healthy participants.

Simon Slater, director of MS Sciences Ltd, said: “There is a growing body of wider evidence that points to a hypothesis linking MS and ETX, and we are confident that these significant findings from our latest study will help people get even closer to an answer for the elusive triggers of MS”.

If the link is proven, it would suggest that a vaccine could prevent MS in the early stages of the disease, Slater added.

However, the causes of the disease are not yet fully understood and further research is needed to understand how ETX may be involved in MS and how such findings could be used to develop tests or treatments.

MS is most commonly diagnosed in patients in their 20s and 30s and can affect the brain, causing a wide range of symptoms including problems with vision, movement, sensation and balance. It is estimated that more than a 100,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with MS.

The full research paper is published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal: Click here

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”