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How Man’s Best Friend can Detect Cancer

How Man’s Best Friend can Detect Cancer
July 01
13:31 2016
Police use dogs to locate drugs, the military trusts dogs to sniff out IEDs (improvised explosive device), and now the medical world is using man’s best friend to detect diseases and prevent medical emergencies.

More than 1,500 delegates gathered in Dublin, Ireland this May for the Future Health Summit. The conference aimed to discuss the main health issues facing the world today and how the general health industry can be improved.

The theme for 2016 was “empowering the patient; information, choice, and accountability.” Dr. Claire Guest, founder of the UK charity Medical Detection Dogs, attended this year’s summit. She explained that dogs can be trained as sophisticated scientific instruments and biosensors.

Doctors have long relied on sense of smell to detect disease, but a human nose pales in comparison to a dog’s.

Dogs have an outstanding sense of smell. So outstanding, in fact, that they can detect odors at concentrations of parts per trillion.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you have 1 gram of butyric acid (a component of human sweat). The average human would be able to detect a faint whiff of BO if that gram had evaporated inside a 10-story building. The average dog would be able to detect the same amount of butyric acid in a 135-square mile area under a 300-foot-high roof.

“Dr. Guest said there was growing evidence that diseases signaled by chemical changes can be detected by the nose,” reported the Irish Times.

A dog’s nose has more than 300 million receptors (we have about 5 million). Studies show that dogs can detect prostate cancer just by sniffing a urine sample. To put this into perspective, while you could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of tea, a dog could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a body of water equal to two Olympic sized swimming pools.

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