People do several degrees to become masters in a field but by just using their senses pigeons have become masters in detecting cancer cells, reveals a new study.
Pathologists and radiologists have been trained for several years to accurately study a mammogram. But in a recent study published in the Journal PLOS ONE
, it has been showed that pigeons are equally good as humans in interpreting mammograms and biopsy samples.
‘Pigeons turn into radiologists and identify tumor cells in mammograms, biopsy samples and microscopic slides.’
In the study, eight pigeons that have been already trained to recognize human faces and expressions, alphabets were taught to recognize microscope slides and mammogram scan images showing evidence of benign or malignant tissue. The pigeons were trained to peck a blue or yellow "report button" depending on whether they were being shown a benign or malignant image.
On the first day of the experiment, pigeons showed 50% of accuracy and then after a period of 15 days, the pigeons's accuracy increased to 85%. To eliminate doubts of memory, pigeons were also showed new images and finally their accuracy rose to 99% which was equal to the accuracy of humans.
Researchers claimed that pigeons could play a role in developing new diagnostic procedures. Pigeons were as good as pathologists in identifying tumor cells in microscopic slides, biopsy samples and mammograms.
"This is a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process that requires the recruitment of clinicians as subjects for these relatively mundane tasks. "Pigeons' sensitivity to diagnostically salient features in medical images suggest that they can provide reliable feedback on many variables at play in the production, manipulation, and viewing of these diagnostically crucial tools," said Richard Levenson, lead researcher, from the University of California.