Honeybees trained to sniff out cancer

Bees are probably one of the most acceptable insects on earth. Without them, who knows what the world would be like. They’re also really cute… It’s a shame we treat them the way we treat ourselves.

Recently there has been an article going around where honeybees are trained to sniff out cancer. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/11/25/honeybees-trained-to-sniff-out-cancer/

Honey bees are known for their great sense of smell. They don’t have noses but their feet, tongues, and antennae are filled with olfactory glands.

The article reads:

Portuguese scientist Susana Soares has invented a two-chambered glass dome that uses bees to snuff out cancer.

“The glass objects have two enclosures: a smaller chamber that serves as the diagnostic space and a bigger chamber where previously trained bees are kept for the short period of time necessary for them to detect general health,” Soares wrote on her website. “People exhale into the smaller chamber, and the bees rush into it if they detect on the breath the odor that they were trained to target.”

The bees are trained by exposing them to odor molecules produced by illnesses and are rewarded with sweats when they identify it. There is still a lot of testing to be done before this device could go public. If it’s proven to be accurate then it could be an inexpensive way to detect early stages of cancer and other illnesses.

How would you feel about putting your mouth on this thing?

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10 thoughts on “Honeybees trained to sniff out cancer

  1. Eeeep! That’s like kissing a cobra! Not in a million years! Then again…. They will tell me if I have cancer or not… I could probably do it blindfolded.

  2. Wow. It’s great that bees can do this, but it would sure take me a while to work up the will to put my mouth on that thing! Thanks for the interesting post–I now know one more reason that bees are so important.

  3. That is so amazing. Such a skilled bug that it can smell out odors found in cancer patient. Think of how helpful it would be if humans had that sense!

  4. Woah. I’ll never look at bees the same way again. I’m not going to lie, I really don’t like bees and I run away from them if one gets too close to me so I don’t know if I’d be able to get close enough to one for it to discover if I have cancer…. but I definitely have a new respect for the bee. Those tiny little creatures are talented.

  5. Oh God, I saw this the other day on tumblr and was incredibly amazed with how amazing bees were. Also that’s a cool looking glass tube, plus there were bees inside it which made it way cooler.

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