The modern day life is considerably stressful and people are usually looking for ways to cut down stress and relax. One of the easiest ways to do so is by simply keeping a pet in the household. Today, every house is incomplete without a loving furry friend.
Keeping pets is popular around the globe. Dogs are among the most common choice and preferences in people. In addition to providing mental relief, dogs can also be of great help in protecting the house from potential dangers.
On the other hand, dogs have also been repeatedly researched on in medical science. Why is this so? It has been found that dogs can also be great companions of people who are differently abled both mentally and physically.
‘Service dogs’ are typically given to patients and trained in a way they understand most of the needs of the person. In a similar way, dogs are also particularly studied for their strong sense of smell. Often, they are incorporated in police and military for their ability to sniff out drugs and chemicals.
Recently, this ability of dogs was also noted to be helpful in the detection of medical conditions. For instance, new research sheds light on how specific breeds of dogs may be helpful in the diagnosis of cancer in patients.
More specifically, a new study looks at how dogs may detect early signs of lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer is also the second most common cancer in the world. This makes the study particularly important.
How Was the Study Conducted?
The team of researchers in the study explain how the olfactory acuity of a dog is likely to be ten thousand times better and sharp than that of a human. This is why they are able to sniff certain chemicals or even health conditions.
During the research, the team worked with a smaller breed of hounds known as beagles. These dogs were then given blood-plasma samples in order to see whether they were able to detect symptoms of non-small lung cancer.
In this case, the breed of the dog was important as beagles are known to be smaller members of the hunting breeds. In addition, they have two hundred and twenty-five million receptor cells while humans have only five million.
Before giving the samples, the beagles were also given eight weeks of training by the researchers. After the training, the dogs were provided with blood samples of people with non-small lung cancer as well as healthy people.
The dogs were trained to stop on the samples they detect cancer in and walk away if the blood was from a healthy individual. The findings of the study are published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association.
Read the study here.
What Were the Results?
After placing samples in front of the beagles, it was observed that they were successful in detecting which blood samples were from a patient of non-small cell cancer. In fact, the dogs detected cancer with 96.5 percent sensitivity as well as 97.5 percent specificity.
This is good news for the future of early diagnosis of cancer for quick and more effective treatment. At the moment, researchers are also working on training dogs to detect other forms like breast and colorectal cancer in people.
The team also hopes to be able to train the dogs to detect particular biomarkers of cancer in the blood of the patients. In the future, this may even prove to be more effective than the latest technologies that are used to identify cancerous formations.