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Canine olfaction as an alternative to analytical instruments for disease diagnosis: understanding 'dog personality' to achieve reproducible results
Hackner, K. AND J. Pleil. Canine olfaction as an alternative to analytical instruments for disease diagnosis: understanding 'dog personality' to achieve reproducible results. Journal of Breath Research. Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol, Uk, 11(1):012001, (2017).
There is no argument that living cells emanate a variety of gas- and liquid-phase compounds as waste from normal metabolism, and that these compounds become easureable from various biological media including skin, blood, urine, breath, feces, etc. [1, 2] The overarching term for this phenomenon from the perspective of systems biology analysis is “cellular respiration”, which has become an important topic for the interpretation and documentation of the human exposome, the chemical counterpart to the genome.  There is growing evidence that bacterial cells and human cancer cells, produce different patterns of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by distinct protein synthesis and changed metabolism. [4-7]
Recent literature has touted the use of canine olfaction as a diagnostic tool for identifying pre-clinical disease status, especially cancer and infection from biological media samples. Studies have shown a wide range of outcomes, ranging from almost perfect discrimination, all the way to essentially random results. This disparity is not likely to be a detection issue; dogs have been shown to have extremely sensitive noses as proven by their use for tracking, bomb detection and search and rescue. However, in contrast to analytical instruments, dogs are subject to boredom, fatigue, hunger and external distractions. These challenges are of particular importance in a clinical environment where task repetition is prized, but not as entertaining for a dog as chasing odours outdoors. The question addressed here is how to exploit the intrinsic sensitivity and simplicity of having a dog simply sniff out disease, in the face of variability in behavior and response.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
EXPOSURE METHODS & MEASUREMENT DIVISION