Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rats & Dogs & Disease Detection

I just love learning about low-cost, non-toxic means of detecting and treating disease, hence my interest in nutrition and understanding the nature of, for example, common food allergies--and hence my intrigue when I saw this headline today: "Giant African Rats Successfully Detect Tuberculosis More Accurately Than Commonly Used Techniques."

The phrase "giant African rats" paints a picture all by itself. Add in tuburculosis detection and I couldn't resist clicking through. Here's a snippet from the press release:

“Using sniffer rats to detect TB seems medieval but our study shows it works, providing an inexpensive, accurate, quick diagnostic,” said lead investigator Alan Poling, PhD., Western Michigan University. “This could have a huge impact in developing countries where TB accounts for one-fourth of all preventable adult deaths and high-tech screening methods aren’t readily available.”

Very impressive.

Reminds me of the stories about dogs sniffing out cancer.  If someone could train their dog to reliably sniff out breast cancer, I think a lot of women would be lining up for the dog's nose over those dreaded mammograms. What do you think? :-)


Anonymous said...

I had one mammogram many years ago. That's it for this lifetime. Mammograms can themselves cause cancer, whereas a cold canine snoot can, at most, tickle or startle. I'll pick the dog over the radioactive cold squashing mammogram any day.

Wyn Snow said...

If guys had their testicles squished in "tessograms" for cancer screening, just imagine how quickly a different screening method would be invented!