Research press release


Scientific Reports

Neuroscience: Can dogs sniff out seizures?



今回、Amelie Catalaたちの研究グループは、てんかん患者が発作を起こしている時、起こしていない時、および身体運動後にそれぞれ、複合的なにおい(息のにおいと体のにおい)を採取し、これらを特別な訓練を受けたイヌ(雌3匹と雄2匹)に嗅がせた。それぞれのにおいサンプルの入った計7個の缶が配置され、そのうち1個だけが発作を起こした時の患者のにおいがする缶だった。この試験は、それぞれのイヌについて9回ずつ行われた。イヌがてんかん発作時のにおいを感知する能力(感受性)は67~100%だったが、それ以外のにおいを正しく判定する能力(特異性)は95~100%だった。


Dogs may be able to detect a specific scent associated with epileptic seizures in humans, according to a small study in Scientific Reports. The preliminary results suggest that seizures may be anticipated in the future, using their odour characteristics.

Previous research has shown that diseases such as breast or lung cancer are associated with specific changes in bodily odours. However, the possibility that epileptic seizures, which are individual-specific and highly variable, may also be reflected in an odour profile had not been tested.

Amelie Catala and colleagues presented three female and two male trained dogs with complex odours (breath and bodily odour) obtained from epileptic patients during a seizure, outside a seizure and following an exercise session. Each dog was involved in nine trials in total, during which the dogs were presented with seven cans. Only one can in each trial contained the seizure odour. The dogs’ ability to detect positives (sensitivity) ranged from 67% to 100%, while their ability to correctly identify negatives (specificity) ranged from 95% to 100%.

The results suggest that, despite the variety of seizures and individual body odours, seizures are associated with specific odour profiles. These characteristics could potentially be used in future to anticipate seizures and allow patients to seek a more secure environment. However, further studies need to determine the chemical properties of the seizure odour, and if it is present before a seizure occurs.

doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40721-4


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