The future of cancer screenings may not be expensive, invasive tests, but simply in having dogs sniff a urine sample.
In a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a rescue dog name Frankie had a 90% success rate at distinguishing urine between people with thyroid cancer and those people without the disease.
In an effort to provide an alternative to invasive tests, researchers trained Frankie, a German Shepherd mix, to recognize the smell of cancerous human thyroid tissue. He had been trained to lie down when he smelled cancer, and to turn away when he did not.
In a 2011 study, researchers successfully trained dogs to detect lung cancer by sniffing patients’ breath. Notably, the dogs could detect cancer even when those patients had been smoking or had COPD, unlike current cancer screening tests. In 2014, a study showed that dogs had 98% accuracy at detecting prostate cancer from urine samples. Dogs are also being trained to detect ovarian cancer.
The rationale is simple: While humans have only 5 million scent receptors in their noses, dogs have about 200 million, giving them a sense of smell roughly a thousand times more sensitive!
Even though the use of dogs to detect cancer is a flourishing field of research, the future of cancer screenings is something to be euphoric and engrossed about!
The eyes have it: Why we bond with our dogs like our babies.
Some dog owners treat their dogs like their babies. While this might seem ridiculous to some, a new study proves the bond between dogs and their owners can be as emotionally strong as the connection between mothers and their children.
Researchers have shown the eye connection between dogs and humans increases the levels of oxytocin in people. Oxytocin, aka the “cuddle chemical,” is a hormone mammals produce in the brain that encourages bonding between mothers and their offspring. It’s also involved in partner and social bonding.
In the first experiment, the researchers measured oxytocin levels in 28 pairs of dogs and their humans before watching them interact for 30 minutes. People talked, petted, and looked at their canines. Afterward, the researchers screened oxytocin levels again.
The owners and pups that gazed at one another more showed increased oxytocin!
For the second experiment, the researchers dosed 54 dogs with either a spray of saline or oxytocin in the nose. The female dogs treated with oxytocin spent more time gazing at their owners, which after 30 minutes boosted the levels of their owners’ oxytocin!
This suggests that this gaze behavior is really critical in oxytocin release! When they receive oxytocin, this causes dogs to look more at people and the more they look, it boosts oxytocin levels more.
This special bonding relationship with dogs is fairly unique!
A study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that while cats ignore our music, they are highly responsive to “music” written especially for them. The sounds do not actually replicate cat sounds; the music was created with a pitch and tempo that appeal to cats.
The first step in making cat music is “to evaluate music in the context of the animal’s sensory system,” says Charles Snowdon, a psychology professor. Cats, for example, vocalize one octave higher than people, “So it’s vital to get the pitch right. Then we tried to create music that would have a tempo that was appealing to cats.” One sample was based on the tempo of purring, the other on the sucking sound made during nursing.
To test the songs, Snowdon and his team took a laptop and two speakers to the homes of 47 different cats and played four songs: two classical music tracks, and two “cat songs.”
The behavior of the cats was noted as either positive (purring, rubbing against speaker) or negative (hissing, arching of the back). The study found that a majority of the cats responded positively to their own specialized songs. The cats were significantly more positive toward cat music than classical music. They began the positive response after an average of 110 seconds, compared to 171 seconds for the human music.
Dogs are certainly no dummies when it comes to understanding humans. We may give praise over our clever pooches when they correctly engage in that particularly tasking game of fetch, but dogs have got more going on in their little noggins than we give them credit for. For example, we now know that our canine companions can process human speech in a similar way to how we do, display jealousy, and even discriminate between some of our emotional expressions.
Now, it turns out that these surprisingly perceptive animals can quickly tell a fibber from a square shooter. And once they’ve decided how reliable someone is, they adjust their behavior accordingly.
A study published Oct. 24, 2014 in the journal Animal Cognition tested 34 pet dogs as they interacted with a human and a pair of containers (one containing a food treat, the other empty). Both were made to smell the same so that the dogs couldn’t cheat and just use their noses.
In round one, participants accurately pointed at the container that had food hidden inside before letting the dog go and choose which one to explore. In round two, the experimenter misled the dog and pointed at the empty container after revealing the contents of both of them. For the final round, the experimenter repeated what they did in round one.
What happened? The dogs were much less likely to consider the experimenter’s guidance in round three than in round one. That suggests that they can tell when we mess with them – and know not to be too trusting.
According to the researchers, these findings suggest that dogs are able to make inferences about a person’s reliability based on experience, and can use […]