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Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

Posted January 31, 2020 12:00 PM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: cancer pigeons

Pigeons, long associated with foraging for food on city sidewalks, have a host of other abilities to add to their resumes, so to speak. Chief among them is their ability to distinguish microscopic images of cancerous tissue from non-cancerous tissue in human breast scans.

Researchers from the University of Iowa trained the pigeons for over two weeks — far faster than it takes most folks to learn to drive, read or even speak — to distinguish between the two types of tissue. Likewise, the researchers also taught the pigeons to correctly identify tumors in unseen microscope images and to classify mammograms.

During training, researchers rewarded the pigeons when they correctly identified cancerous tumors with a food pellet. By the completion of two weeks, the pigeons developed an 85% rate of identification accuracy.

Reportedly, this is not all that unusual as pigeons are adept at so much more than they would have you believe. Pigeons can reportedly distinguish individuals from other individuals, they can identify letters in the alphabet, and they can even distinguish between the works of Picasso and Monet. Pigeons have also been employed in the identification of misshapen pharmaceuticals mixed among batches of regularly shaped pharmaceuticals — perhaps making them the unexpected savants of the bird world.

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#1

Re: Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

01/31/2020 12:20 PM

Given the eyesight of birds, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this.

I'd swear chickens can spot a flea at ten paces. They are a great "insecticide".

Would these pigeons be caged or free-range?

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#2
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Re: Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

01/31/2020 9:07 PM

Neither.

Their kept under Annette.

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#4
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Re: Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

02/01/2020 8:04 AM

Yes,chickens can spot a freckle on a gnat's butt at 100 paces.I had free range chickens and guineas,and they kept my garden bug free.Unlike the chickens,they did not till the ground and mess up my wife's flower beds.

I have seen them patrolling the garden rows,looking right and left,high and low for bugs.

They will also gang up and kill snakes.The chickens will eat the dead snakes--I have seen it.

I went into the chicken pen one day,and all of the chickens were cowered in the corner.

I left the coop door open in the day so they could come and go as they pleased.

They always roosted in the chicken coop,except for the guineas,who roosted in the trees.

I soon spotted the reason: a chicken snake was in the pen.

The chickens were making high pitched calls and here came the guineas,who surrounded,harassed and finally and killed the snake.

The chickens then pounced on the snake and ate it.

Evidently,the guineas did not like reptile meat.

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#3

Re: Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

02/01/2020 7:51 AM

Along the same line of research,why not train dolphins to detect breast cancer?

Their sonar has been perfected my nature for millions of years,and they can detect a solid ball from a hollow one,and lots of other sophisticated skills.

Women hate the painful procedure,and with just cause.

I would not like for my testicles to be put in a vise while being X-Rayed or

sonogrammed.

Looks like a good opportunity for retired Sea World dolphins and employees.

Is there a researcher in the house?

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#5

Re: Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

02/04/2020 2:35 PM

I can just see it now. A visit to the oncologist will start by walking down a hallway lined with a whole zoo of different caged and tanked animals. The aroma will be special.

Images of the critters' reactions during your transit will be sent to the oncologist for analysis as a nurse or attendant takes your blood pressure. Eventually, the oncologist meets you to tell you that the goldfish has determined you've developed ovarian cancer. The oncologist is stunned to now notice your distinct full beard. You explain that's fine since you are trans and you don't need that part anymore.

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#6
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Re: Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

02/04/2020 2:46 PM

Do I detect just a smidgeon of sarcasm?

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#7
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Re: Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

02/04/2020 6:09 PM

We're bringing down the cost of medical care. Pigeons work for a lot less than lab technicians...

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Re: Pigeons can be Trained to Spot Breast Cancer

02/04/2020 10:04 PM

I've known more than one lab technician. Maybe the hallway aroma won't be special.

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