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  • There are good boys,

  • and then there are very good boys

  • like these dogs here. They're searching for a scent

  • that no human can detect:

  • the scent of an epileptic seizure.

  • We've long known that dogs can detect seizures in humans

  • in some cases 45 minutes before they occur.

  • That's one reason why organizations like Handi'chiens

  • in France provide service dogs for people with epilepsy.

  • And in some cases, this can prove lifesaving.

  • It might give people time to take medication

  • that could prevent or reduce the severity of a seizure

  • or move somewhere safer where an injury

  • is less likely to occur.

  • Incredible?

  • Yes.

  • But proven?

  • Not until French researchers teamed up with Medical Mutts,

  • a US-based organization that trains seizure alert dogs.

  • That marker, they believed, was a scent

  • that dogs can detect.

  • So in 2018, they set up an experiment.

  • First, they collected dozen of samples of

  • breath and sweat from people with

  • different forms of epilepsy.

  • Some of them were taken during or right after a seizure,

  • while others were collected after exercise or at rest.

  • Then they distributed them among seven different

  • steel containers in this room.

  • Finally, they let out, or, they let in the dogs.

  • One by one, Casey, Dodger, Lana, Zoey, and Roo

  • walked into the room.

  • They were trained to stop and stand still

  • if they think they detected the scent of a seizure.

  • And if they were right, they got a treat,

  • good dog!

  • To the researchers' excitement, the canines excelled.

  • Three of the dogs, Casey, Dodger, and Zoey,

  • sniffed out the odor associated with seizure with

  • 100% accuracy.

  • The two other pups, Lana and Roo, who had less

  • time to train, weren't quite as accurate.

  • But they still correctly identified two-thirds

  • of the seizure samples on their first try.

  • What makes these results even more remarkable

  • is that the scent samples were from different people

  • and also produced by different kinds of seizures.

  • And what exactly is that marker made of?

  • Here's the thing: We still don't know.

  • It's likely that seizures trigger a change in the body's

  • electrical activity, the researchers say.

  • And those changes can affect the

  • composition of odor molecules that

  • we emit through our sweat, breath, and, likely, urine.

  • Now, whether people emit these odors

  • before a seizure in time to reduce its worst effects

  • is still in question,

  • and it's not something that the researchers tested.

  • But some experts claim that people emit a specific

  • group of odor chemicals 15 to 45 minutes prior to seizing,

  • which dogs can detect.

  • So what exactly makes canines such smell superstars?

  • It's their incredible noses.

  • With as many as 300 million olfactory receptors,

  • a dog's nose is up to 100 thousand times

  • stronger than our own.

  • That means they can detect a few scent molecules

  • among trillions of them.

  • Scientists are now trying to build electronic noses

  • that are just as powerful.

  • The idea is that they too

  • could be used to sniff out diseases.

  • But for now e-noses are nowhere near as good as dogs,

  • and in some ways, doesn't that seem like a good thing?

There are good boys,

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B1 seizure scent detect emit odor roo

How Dogs Sniff Out Seizures

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/27
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