By Marty Sallman
Keep your “coo”-l, because scientists have found a new way to diagnose breast cancer with very unlikely candidates. Dr. Richard M. Levenson is involved in a project teaching pigeons to read radiology scans of both benign and malignant breast cancer. They taught pigeons by showing them photos of both cancerous and cancer-free tissue which had already been diagnosed, and rewarded the birds with food depending on the button they pushed. After a while, the birds would learn that a certain photo corresponded with a certain button and the two combined would equal a treat.
But scientists claim that it’s not as simple as that. Levenson summarized the experiment in his press release by saying “The birds proved to have a remarkable ability to distinguish benign from malignant human breast histopathology after training with differential food reinforcement; even more importantly, the pigeons were able to generalize what they had learned when confronted with novel image sets.” This means that the pigeons are actually absorbing what the photos are, and are able to tell the difference between malignant and benign tissue. This isn’t limited to solely breast cancer, however. If further experiments continue to show favorable results, pigeons may be able to start identifying other types of cancer, and maybe even see some cancers before they begin to develop further.
Whether you're looking for the details of the new dress code or an objective account of Israel-Palestine conflict, you'll find it here in the News section. We strive to cover school-centered, local, and global happenings.