Can bees detect diabetes?
A researcher in New Mexico is training bees to detect diabetes, which could lead to a more cost-effective way to diagnose the condition.
As reported by Lysee Mitri, from KRQE News 13 in New Mexico, Dr. Robert Wingo, a Los Alamos National Lab researcher, and a group of foreign graduate students have teamed up on the project.
The students contacted Wingo, who has experience training bees to detect explosives.
“They lined it up, and I flew out there with several boxes of gear," Wingo said. "I landed. We grabbed the gear and went out to a beekeeper’s place, collected bees and started training bees."
Bees detect acetone
The bees were trained to detect acetone, which diabetics tend to have more of in their breath, Mitri writes.
"The bees got the smell, then a reward of sugar water to lick," she reported. "They did that over and over until eventually the bees just stuck out their tongues at the smell."
Based on the findings, Wingo and the students hope bees might become a tool that third-world countries can use to help detect diabetes.
“We believe there is sufficient evidence to merit looking at this more,” Dr. Wingo said.