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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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New 'DoggyLottery' to raise funds for rescue centres

News Story 1
 A new 'DoggyLottery' to raise funds for dog rescue centres in the UK will launch on Saturday (4 July). Every four weeks, five different rescue centres will be connected to the lottery, providing much-needed funds - particularly during COVID-19 - and providing vital online exposure.

A weekly game costs £1.50 and entrants will have the chance of being one of 20 guaranteed winners. A massive 60 per cent of the raised funds will go towards the dog rescue centres, more than double that donated by leading lottery companies to charitable causes.

To find out more and play the lottery, visit www.doggylottery.co.uk  

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News Shorts
International Cat Care appoints new head of veterinary division

International Cat Care (ICC) has announced the appointment of Nathalie Dowgray as head of the charity's veterinary division.

Nathalie, who is an RCVS advanced practitioner in feline medicine, will lead the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and a play key role in advancing knowledge and research in feline medicine.

Claire Bessant, iCatCare's chief executive said: "We're absolutely delighted to be welcoming Nathalie to the charity. She brings a depth and breadth of feline expertise and understanding which fits perfectly with the charity's work and development, and her enthusiasm for cats is infectious."