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Study sheds light on foetal development in humans and pigs
It is thought the differences observed after birth could arise early in development
Non-invasive method monitors blood flow during pregnancy 

Light sedation of pigs in early pregnancy could be linked with decreased foetal weight, according to a new study, which has important implications for human and veterinary medicine.

Scientists from the Roslin Institute have developed the first non-invasive method to monitor blood flow at multiple stages of pregnancy, offering fresh insights into pre-natal piglet growth.

There is often a great deal of variation in the birth weight of piglets, with many litters having a ‘runt’. It is thought the differences observed after birth could arise early in development, raising questions about the role of blood supply to foetuses during pregnancy.

The research team found that changes in foetal heart rate and umbilical blood flow were linked with the stage of pregnancy, in a similar way to humans.

Lead author Dr Claire Stenhouse said: “It is hoped, with further optimisation, it may be feasible to measure blood flow in the umbilical cord of growth-restricted piglets throughout pregnancy.

“This is also of great interest in humans, particularly in the context of use of sedatives during pregnancy and improving the understanding of intrauterine growth restriction.”

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk