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The Wacky World of Prostate Cancer Diagnosing and Prevention In the News– Dogs and Voice Decoding?

Posted Jun 03 2010 1:17pm

First up here we have dogs that are trained to smell urine and in the tests below you can see this was limited to 66 tests and the dog made 3 mistakes, not bad.  This does not mean you can get a dog to replace the standard PSA test though as this is still preliminary work with some kind of progress I think?  The video below goes into other cancers that dogs can check for or I should say are being trained to detect. 

Now a couple weeks ago I did a post about software that decodes human voices to also help determine if a man has prostate cancer, so gee even easier than the dog?  Actually the software is being developed and invested in by venture capitalists to decode your voice to give the caller at the other end you present mental state, great right?  This could perhaps stand some use in areas where call centers are located in countries where English is not the main language? 

As you read further, the software also boasts about the ability to predict prostate cancer too, so what next, forget the visit to the doctor and get all the men in the country on the phone?  Of course not, but a second example of some strange items happening out there with some wacky research.  I also ask what if was a woman on the phone too, would the voice decoder know this? 

“According to Levanon, a person with prostate cancer has a "Grand Canyon" of missing tones that is "catastrophic to the voice."

I could see a call to a tech call center going something like this with transparency and disclosure today:

“Thank you for calling our tech support customer service department today and by law I am requested to inform you that we have also decoded your voice and you may have prostate cancer and I would be happy to send the results to your doctor if you can verify the last 4 digits of your social security number and provide a fax number”…(grin). 

Then, if you believe everything you read today you might be running down to the drug store to buy some products from Bayer – not. 

These stories are interesting to read, but until you doctor recommends it, I would stay with the standard scientific tests we have today and when you watch the video above the dogs are graduating too up to detecting other forms of cancer.  BD

Man's best friend may cement his position if early results from French researchers can be replicated. A team of researchers from Tenon Hospital in Paris reported Tuesday at a San Francisco meeting of the American Urological Assn. that dogs can be trained to detect the characteristic odor of unique chemicals released into urine by prostate tumors, setting the stage for a new way to identify men who are most at risk from the cancer. If developed, the test might be more effective than the PSA test now used because it would have fewer false positives.

In 66 tests, the dog was correct 63 times. There were three false positives and no false negatives. That is, the dog correctly identified all the specimens from prostate cancer patients, but misidentified three from healthy men.

The whole training process took about a year, Cornu said, and the team is already training other dogs. The researchers are now attempting to identify what specific chemicals the dog is reacting to in hopes of developing an "electronic nose" that wouldn't require treats and potty breaks.

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