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Piglet study shows prebiotics and probiotics work differently in baby girls and boys
"The consequence of this study is that we need to rethink how we design, and analyse the data from, nutritional trials in youngsters." - Dr Marie Lewis.

Findings could improve treatment of immune disorders

Teams from the Universities of Bristol and Reading have discovered that baby boy’s and girl’s immune systems respond differently to prebiotics and probiotics, contradicting previous evidence that the differences in immunity begin during puberty.

The research, which was conducted using 28-day-old piglets, revealed that, depending on their sex, they produced vastly varying levels of immune cells, antibodies and other immune-associated molecules.

It was also found that the prebiotic inulin significantly increases the number of regulatory T-cells – the cells responsible for controlling immune responses – in male guts, but this was not the case in female guts.

Principal investigator Dr Marie Lewis, lecturer in gut immunology and microbiology at the University of Reading said: “Currently, studies looking at the effectiveness of dietary supplements on the immune system assume that the same thing happens in boys and girls. But we show this is not the case and that sex may be influencing data on the effectiveness of probiotics and prebiotics in infanthood."

Dr Lewis also speculated that these findings may lead to differences in designing treatments for immune disorders for infant girls and boys.

“In the future, we could find that specific probiotics or prebiotics are more beneficial for girls, whilst others could generate better health outcomes for boys.

“Given the underlying differences in immune development we identified between boys and girls, taking sex into account could provide a simple means to improve the effectiveness of pharmaceutics and other therapies which act on the immune system."

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for 3 months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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LOVE Gorgie Farm seeking veterinary volunteers

LOVE Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is looking for people with veterinary and animal care experience, who would be interested in volunteering to help care for its animals during these difficult times.

The community-owned charity farm opened to the public only last month, but decided to close temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its three-person team is working to care for the animals behind the scenes and the farm is now operating as a food bank for the public, delivering free breakfasts to local school children.

In an effort to build a contingency plan to secure the welfare of its animals, LOVE Gorgie Farm is looking for volunteers who would be able to step in if any team members fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact gorgie@l-o-v-e.org.uk