Posts Tagged ‘bees’

Absolutely Breath Taking: Cancer Breakthrough

bees cancerCancer is Detectable in Breath

A hand-blown glass device housing a small team of honey bees may be able to detect cancer and other diseases, thanks to the acute sense of smell of the bees. Their extraordinary sense of smell can detect particles in the air in the parts per trillion range, naturally used for searching for pollen in flowers. By training the bees to recognize smells associated with certain diseases and cancers, the bees can determine the presence of the disease or not, based solely on the breath of a patient.

The device was revealed at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, by Portuguese designer Susana Soares. There were multiple distinct structures presented by the designer, but the function relies on two main chambers. The first chamber is a diagnosis area, into which the user exhales. The honey bees are kept in the outer larger chamber, but fly into the smaller chamber if they detect any aroma they were previously trained to recognize.

By training different groups of bees to recognize different odors, doctors can accurately determine the presence of lung, skin, and pancreatic cancers, as well as tuberculosis. “Trained bees only rush into the smaller chamber if they can detect the odour on the patient’s breath that they have been trained to target,” explains Soares.

The bees can be trained in only 10 minutes using Pavlov’s reflex, connecting a certain odor with a food reward. Mentally wired to constantly search food for the hive, the bees will remember the odor for the entire six week duration of their lives. The bees are especially sensitive to pheromes from apocrine glands, which excrete information about a persons health.

~Courtesy of Healthy Living Magazine

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: