I was surfing around the net one day and I found this article about scientists who are creating a machine that will detect acetone in someone's breath. Acetone can be a sign that someone suffers from diabetes, so in theory this machine could use scent to diagnose this disease.
That story brought to mind other stories I've heard about people using dogs to sniff out cancer in people. According to this article:
"The results of the study showed that dogs can detect breast and lung cancer with sensitivity and specificity between 88% and 97%. The high accuracy persisted even after results were adjusted to take into account whether the lung cancer patients were currently smokers. Moreover, the study also confirmed that the trained dogs could even detect the early stages of lung cancer, as well as early breast cancer."
People have even tried "smelling" schizophrenia.
But what if there were a pheromone for violence? About a year ago, someone approached my hospital and wanted to bring in dogs to do a study on violence. They wanted to see if canine scent detection could be used to predict which patient would be aggressive. The idea seemed pretty bizarre to me at the time, and in fact there is nothing in PubMed to suggest that it would work.
While googling around on the topic of scent detection I also found this novel, The Nadjik Pheromone. The plot is based on the idea that somebody discovers a pheromone that gets emitted when someone lies. It's an interesting idea. The author came up with the idea when he heard about people using fMRI for lie detection.
I don't really have a conclusion for this post, I just thought I'd throw out some ideas. Maybe someday people will be giving "truth perfume" for Christmas.
Really? A device that detects acetone? Isn't that just called a nose?
The Apopo rats are used to sniff out TB already.
On the wonderful Showtime series "The Big C", the neighbors Basset Hound continually "visits" the main character, who has cancer. That is how the neighbor finds out about the cancer...through her dog.
Maybe the dogs can put mammograms out of business.
You can't give perfume as a gift, unless you know the brand of choice, already. It never smells the same in the bottle as it does when a person is wearing it.
I thought I had read sense of smell was a problem with schizophrenia and a few other disorders but it tends to be an overlooked sense when it comes to discussing symptoms...
Olfactory hallucinations. Interesting comment. Clinkshrink, what medical conditions are these associated with?
That's very interesting. I've heard of dogs being used to sense when a person who has seizures is about to have one, and the dog "warns" the person - these dogs are trained in prison, I think, I saw on a special tv program once, with prisoners who have seizures who volunteer to train the dogs - and then the person knows to sit or lay on the floor, get into a safe position so they don't fall down and hurt themselves when the seizure starts. It's been about 5 years since I saw the program though so I may be remembering it wrong.
An instrument to diagnose diabetes by detecting breath acetone: It sure beats tasting urine. Connect it to your USB port, and another objection to skypiatry (inability to smell the patient) takes a hit. Maybe they can come up with a USB alcohol Breathalyzer.
Delete this comment, too?
I think the "truth" smelling dog is instead sensing body language associated with honesty/dishonesty
Like Sarebear, I too have heard of dogs used to sense seizures...gave me the idea that maybe a dog could sense the onset of a depressive (or manic) episode and alert it's owner so the person could take immediate evasive action to avoid the moodswing...wouldn't that be great?
Sarebear Did you read "MY Sister's Keeper"? SPOILER AHEAD
The Attorney's Dog, "Judge", was one. i loved how the Attorney kept making up excuses as to why he had a Service Dog......"Alcoholic...Dog comes between me and a beer."
The show you watched sounds fascinating.
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