Dogs great disease detectors with scientists using them more and more.
And scientists are just now beginning to realize how effective dogs are in sniffing out diseases.
Two major new research projects are underway.
One, for dogs to detect Parkinson’s disease.
The other one, to detect malaria.
Malaria is one of the world’s biggest killer.
More than 584,000 people die from it each year.
Both the Parkinsons and malaria studies so far sound promising.
And both projects are considered breakthroughs.
We have known for some time that dogs have been used to detect cancer.
But Parkinson’s and malaria are totally new.
Of course, by now we also know that dogs are great for sniffing out drugs and explosives.
Dogs Great Disease Detectors
And that’s because dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell.
The percentage of a dog’s brain devoted to analysing odours is 40 times larger than that of a person.
“The full potential of dogs to detect human disease is just beginning to be understood,” says Clair Guest.
She is the chief executive of Medical Detection Dogs.
It’s a ten-year-old charitable organization devoted to supporting research into canine biodetection work.
“If all diseases have an odour, which we have reason to believe they do, we can use dogs to identify them, ” she says.
“Dogs have 300 million smell receptors in their noses compared to our mere five million.
“They are first-rate bio-sensors and their ability to help us make important scientific advances should not be dismissed on account of their waggy tails and fluffy coats.
“Dogs have something called neophilia, which means they are attracted to new and interesting odors,” says Guest.
And two dogs from Medical Detection Dogs were used to sniff out malaria.
And the same applies to Parkinson disease.
A two-year trial is underway.
It will see if sniffing dogs can detect early signs of Parkinson’s disease in people.
The trial started last year.
Three dogs are being used.
They will sniff the smell of 700 people to focus on the molecules people release before developing Parkinson’s.