Environmental enrichment for pigs

The welfare of farmed pigs can be improved by modifying their environment with bedding, substrates, or objects, so that they can perform more of their pig-specific behaviours. However, scientific knowledge is not necessarily reaching farms.

A recent review published by Heleen van de Weerd and Sarah Ison examines why the industry has not yet fully embraced the benefits of effective enrichment. Read more “Environmental enrichment for pigs”

EU report on alternatives to pig castration

The European Declaration on Alternatives to Surgical Castration of Pigs works towards ending the practice of castration. The voluntary Declaration was signed by meat industry, retailers, scientists, veterinarians and animal welfare NGOs in 2010. Following the Declaration, the European Commission commissioned a study on ‘Establishing best practices on the production, the processing and the marketing of meat from uncastrated pigs or pigs vaccinated against boar taint’. A team of experts, including Dr Heleen van de Weerd, conducted research in a selection of (representative) EU Member States and described the different practices utilised by the industry. The report can be downloaded here.

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Does chewing ability influence cognitive and systemic health during aging?

There is a growing body of literature which suggests that oral health and mastication can influence cognitive and systemic health during aging. However, it is currently unclear whether oral health, masticatory efficiency, cognitive health and systemic health merely deteriorate independently with age, or whether mechanisms exist linking mastication to cognitive and systemic health directly. In a recent paper published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, Jon Day and colleagues review the extent to which reduced mastication influences cognitive and systemic health during aging.

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Poor cognitive ageing and nutrition

A paper co-authored by Jon Day has been published in the journal Ageing Research Reviews. The review aims to summarise the current state of knowledge of vulnerabilities that predispose towards dysfunctional brain ageing, highlight potential protective mechanisms, and discuss dietary interventions that may be used as therapies. A special focus of this paper is on the impact of nutrition on neuroprotection and the underlying molecular mechanisms.

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Nutrition, neurogenesis and the ageing brain

On 22nd November, Jon Day and Sophie Miquel gave a keynote presentation entitled ‘Nutrition, neurogenesis and the ageing brain’ at Food Matters Live.

Aging presents a global grand-challenge:

  • Between 2015 and 2030 the number of people aged 60 years or over is predicted to grow by 56% from 901 million to 1.4 billion
  • All nations will need to spend more on healthcare to treat and manage dementia and other age-related cognitive-diseases
  • By 2050, increases in the ageing population will present significant economic and social challenges, and the burden for healthcare systems will become enormous
  • The current cost of dementia alone is $818 billion worldwide. By 2030, it is expected to reach $2 trillion.

Find out how nutrition influences the ageing brain in the video below.

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