Science Round-up: Feeding and Bullying Edition

Feb 22nd, 2008 | By | Category: Lit Round-up

Eat more drumsticks:

Broiler (meat) chickens have been subjected to intense genetic selection. In the past 50 years, broiler growth rates have increased by over 300% (from 25 g per day to 100 g per day). There is growing societal concern that many broiler chickens have impaired locomotion or are even unable to walk. Here we present the results of a comprehensive survey of commercial flocks which quantifies the risk factors for poor locomotion in broiler chickens. We assessed the walking ability of 51,000 birds, representing 4.8 million birds within 176 flocks. We also obtained information on approximately 150 different management factors associated with each flock. At a mean age of 40 days, over 27.6% of birds in our study showed poor locomotion and 3.3% were almost unable to walk. The high prevalence of poor locomotion occurred despite culling policies designed to remove severely lame birds from flocks. We show that the primary risk factors associated with impaired locomotion and poor leg health are those specifically associated with rate of growth. Factors significantly associated with high gait score included the age of the bird (older birds), visit (second visit to same flock), bird genotype, not feeding whole wheat, a shorter dark period during the day, higher stocking density at the time of assessment, no use of antibiotic, and the use of intact feed pellets. The welfare implications are profound. Worldwide approximately 2×1010 broilers are reared within similar husbandry systems. We identify a range of management factors that could be altered to reduce leg health problems, but implementation of these changes would be likely to reduce growth rate and production. A debate on the sustainability of current practice in the production of this important food source is required.

Or eat at Juliano’s:

Gluten sensitivity is widespread among humans. For example, in celiac disease patients, an inflammatory response to dietary gluten leads to enteropathy, malabsorption, circulating antibodies against gluten and transglutaminase 2, and clinical symptoms such as diarrhea. There is a growing need in fundamental and translational research for animal models that exhibit aspects of human gluten sensitivity…

When fed with a gluten-containing diet, gluten-sensitive macaques showed signs and symptoms of celiac disease including chronic diarrhea, malabsorptive steatorrhea, intestinal lesions and anti-gliadin antibodies. A gluten-free diet reversed these clinical, histological and serological features, while reintroduction of dietary gluten caused rapid relapse….

Gluten-sensitive rhesus macaques may be an attractive resource for investigating both the pathogenesis and the treatment of celiac disease.

Dogs still don’t belong in restaurants, but for one less reason:

In many countries in the world, livestock and humans are affected with hydatid disease, which is caused by the development, in the viscera, of the larval stage of the cestode Echinococcus granulosus. They become infected by ingesting the eggs of this parasite, which are passed in the feces of the dog—the host of the adult worm. Domestic dogs are key in the transmission to livestock and humans….
…we propose that a recombinant oral vaccine given to the small number of dogs keeping the herd would decrease the number of Echinococcus granulosus adult worms and, consequently, the number of infective eggs. This measure would help reduce the contamination risk factors for humans and livestock, and would be cost-effective for the owners of the dogs.

A video of Echinococcus Hydatid cysts being removed from a patient’s brain:

(Not safe for anyone to view. Ever.)

Attention fellow nerds worldwide–eat better, work out and clean up:

Basic daily healthy practices including nutritious diet, hygiene and physical activity are common approaches in comprehensive health promotion programs in school settings, however their relationship to these aggressive behaviours is vague. We attempted to show the advantages of these healthy lifestyle behaviours in 9 developing countries by examining the association with being frequently bullied, violence and injury…

Healthy lifestyle showed an association to decreased relative risk of being frequently bullied and violence/injury in developing countries. A comprehensive approach to risk and health promoting behaviours reducing bullying and violence is encouraged at school settings.