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    • Hoping that we can get more dogs trained to detect disease, but in the meantime scientists are trying to create robots that can smell like a dog can.

      Prostate cancer is extremely difficult to detect by humans. Blood tests are just not accurate.

      But....

      "Properly trained dogs, on the other hand, can detect prostate cancer with better than 90 percent accuracy, and with sleek, tail-­wagging efficiency."

      "....an avalanche of findings has dramatically expanded our sense of what dogs can do with their noses. It started when researchers realized that canines can smell the early onset of melanoma. Then it turned out they can do the same for breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and ovarian cancer. They can smell the time of day in the movement of air around a room; sense diabetic episodes hours in advance; and detect human emotional states in the absence of visual cues."

      How do mammals process smells?

      "Instead of giving equal computational attention to all the compounds we inhale, our brains hierarchically sort information based on what’s important to us. We can tune out smells in a room if we’re not interested. Our receptors are still sensing compounds, but our brains aren’t paying attention. Conversely, if we narrow our attention on the signals our receptors are sending, we can pick out the subtle scent of shallots or fennel in a pasta sauce brimming with the competing scents of tomato, peppers, and garlic."

      So far, dogs are winning but you can read about the progress technology is making and it is looking pretty good.