How bees could diagnose tumors in time

Who I am
Elia Tabuenca García
@eliatabuencagarcía

Cancer, the only real weapon at our disposal is prevention. Bees, among the smartest insects on our planet, will be able to save our lives. We know that bees are the first to be in danger, starting from the use of toxic pesticides in intensive agriculture, capable of causing a progressive death. So the discovery of their ability to identify cancer could be doubly useful, for us and for these pollinating insects indispensable in agriculture.



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Cancer, the only real weapon at our disposal is the prevention, alongside the possibility of discovering the presence of the disease in time. The api, among the smartest insects on our planet, will be able to save our lives. We know that bees are the first to be in danger, starting from the use of toxic pesticides in intensive agriculture, capable of causing a progressive death. Here then is the discovery of them ability to identify cancer it could be doubly useful, for us and for these pollinating insects indispensable in agriculture.



On the occasion of the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the Portuguese designer Susana Soares presented one tool able to identify the presence of cancer thanks to bees and our breath. Bees are equipped with one extraordinary sense of smell, which allows them to identify the presence of particular molecules in the air and to recognize some odors associated with diseases such as lung cancer, skin or pancreas, and tuberculosis

The instrument is made up of two compartments. In the smallest we find a space dedicated to diagnosis, in which people breathe, giving out air through exhalation. In the largest compartment we find bees, which approach the diagnosis area when they sense the presence of smells they have learned to recognize. When the patient exhales, the emitted air becomes visible through condensation. Thanks to the particular structure of the instrument, bees never come into contact with the person undergoing the test.

Bees are smart enough to learn to recognize smells in just ten minutes. After identifying the indicated odors, they receive a reward in the form of water and food. This will allow them to perform their task perfectly for the duration of their life.

Scientists have established that bees are able to diagnose the early stages of certain diseases, such as cancer and tuberculosis. They are particularly sensitive to pheromone produced by the exocrine glands of our body. These are substances that contain information about our health. Bees have turned out to be real bioradars for identifying diseases. After participating in a short-term diagnosis within the hospital, the bees are released and return to their hives.



Now that we know that bees can save our lives, we should be the ones to work harder for save them.

Marta Albè

Photo source: susanasoares.com

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