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Dogs may protect children against Crohn's disease – study
The study suggests that exposure to dogs could protect children against Crohn's disease later in life.
Survey analysis reveals link between dogs in the household and healthy gut permeability.

Children that grow up with dogs may have some protection from Crohn's disease later in life, according to new research.

The study, presented at Digestive Disease Week on Monday (23 May), analysed responses to a questionnaire sent to some 4,300 first-degree relatives of people with Crohn's disease. 

The team analysed several environmental factors, including family size, the presence of dogs or cats in the household and the number of bathrooms. The analysis also included age at the time of exposure. 

Their findings show that exposure to dogs, especially between the ages of five and 15, was associated with healthy gut permeability and balance between the gut microbes and the body's immune response – all of which may protect against Crohn's disease. 
The team noticed a similar trend with exposure to dogs across all age groups.

Dr Williams Turpin, senior author and research associate with Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto, explains:  “It could potentially be because dog owners get outside more often with their pets or live in areas with more green space, which has been shown previously to protect against Crohn’s.”  

The scientists hope their findings may help doctors determine which patients may be at greater risk of developing Crohn's. However, they stress that the reasons why dog ownership appears to protect against the disease remain unclear. 

New research by Crohn's and Colitis UK shows that more than half a million people (one in 123) in the country live with the conditions. It most often develops in young people, smokers, and those who have a close family member with irritable bowel disease.

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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on minsmere@rspb.org.uk outside of these times."  

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Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit moredun.org.uk