5 animals capable of detecting diseases

5 animals capable of detecting diseases

We recently told you about the curious reason why dogs are able to detect the hypoglycemia in diabetic patients.

And like them, many other animals have their senses sharpened to the point of being able to perceive the presence of diseasesthrough very different techniques, from smell to visualization of resonances.

So that you know some of them, in this report we are going to give you five of the most curious examples, although you will be surprised to know the size of the list of species capable of exploit this skill.

Animals capable of detecting diseases

1. Oncological pigeons capable of detecting tumors

One of the most curious cases is that of pigeons, which according to a study carried out at the end of last year can be trained to detect if a tumor, displayed in histological or radiological images, is benign or malignant.

This is something that you normally train for pathologists and radiologists, which take years to acquire the skills that these birds seem to gain in a much shorter period, because they are animals with a highly developed visual capacity, necessary to identify possible camouflaged predators.

These researchers, belonging to the University of Iowa, they only needed some food rewards to get to teach the pigeons, who had no problems with the radiological imagesalthough I know they showed Some difficultieswith the histological ones, due to the absence of color.

Be that as it may, the results were so good that scientists considered it necessary to continue researching in this line, in order to avoid repetitive work for specialists and, in addition, to extend the technique to others. Applications, as the evaluation of the quality of new imaging techniques.

2. The fly that can smell cancer cells

One of the most appreciated animals in the scientific research is the fruit flybecause it is a great experimental model, because plays easily and quickly and at about the 75% of human genes associated with disease they have a counterpart in it.

However, this is not the only reason that makes it a very interesting animal for science, since there are other equally important reasons. For example, in a study published in Nature in 2014 this fly was shown to be able to detect cancer cells through the smell.

This is because the metabolism of healthy cells is not the same as that of tumor cells, so as a result they are issued different volatile compounds, which can be detected by the acute smell of these insects, whose neuron-covered antennas they are a magnificent chemical sensor.

Furthermore, the best of all is that at the time of detection a neuron takes place in these neurons. increased calcium that can be detected through fluorescent marking, therefore, it is not necessary to train the flies to carry out any conscious reaction.

3. The giant pocket rat to detect tuberculosis

The tuberculosis It is a widespread disease in underdeveloped passes, in which its early detection can be decisive when starting a treatment.

This has led to some african passes, in which they occur 255 cases per hundred thousand people in a year, the search for Effective and cheap methods of diagnosis.

As a general rule, in these areas the biopsy; although, curiously, it was discovered that African giant pocket rats, which are also often used to detect antipersonnel mines, they can smell this and others germs present in saliva 44% more effective than conventional biopsy.

It is curious, because the same species that in 2003 acted as a vector in an outbreak of monkey pox in the United States, it is capable of saving the lives of hundreds of people by promoting early detection Of his sickness.

4. Bees to detect cancer

In the same way that the fruit fly, bees also have a very sharp smell thanks to receivers of their antennas.

However, these show an added advantage, since there is the possibility of training them using sugary rewards. Yes, the sweet loses them, but if it serves the good of humanity, what difference does it make to us?

And this is what I should have thought end of 2013 a Portuguese industrial designer, who developed a very simple mechanism to help these insects in the cancer detection.

Simply, the patient had to breathe in the interior of a glass chamber so that the breath went to a compartment where the trained bees, which through certain movements indicated whether the patient had cancer or not.

According to the person responsible for the invention, bees can be trained for this purpose in only ten minutes, so the camera can be continuously replaced.

5. The dog, man’s best friend

animals capable of detecting diseases 2

The dogs versatility, whose highly developed senses can be trained for purposes such as blind guide, drug and explosive detection, or therapy for autistic children, has led to more and more reasons for not losing the title of Men’s best friends.

But that is not all; since, in addition, they have shown to be great doctors, capable of diagnose diseases as varied as thebacterial infections, cancer, diabetes or epilepsy.

The first three cases are known to be due to the detection of changes in the patient odor, associated with the exhalation of substances whose levels increase under disease conditions.

Until recently it was not known exactly what these substances were, although it has recently been discovered that diabetic patients with hypoglycemia they emit high levels of a substance, known as isoprene, which is triggered when the rates of sugar in blood.

On the contrary, the subject of epilepsy It appears to be different, as it does not appear to be associated solely with odor. It is more than proven that some dogs have the ability to predict an outbreak before it occurs, so that the patient himself or the people around him can act accordingly, avoiding falls and other necessary situations.

This detection is thought to be based on the presence of changes in behavior, voice or smell of those affected, although there are also some who believe that it may be due to more specific factors, such as chemical changes or changes in the electrical activity of the brain.

What is clear is that, whether they are bacteria, cancer, hypoglycemia, or epilepsy, these animals can be trained to alert the sick through barking, avoiding more than one problem that would have been impossible to predict through other techniques.

And they do all this without expecting anything in return. Well, maybe some cookies during training, but what is that compared to a person’s health?

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