Dogs can detect a telltale smell associated with epileptic seizures, scientists have discovered and offered the opportunity that they could be trained to warn the owner when a seizure is imminent to be able to feel when her owner has a seizure. Knowing when a seizure occurs, people with epilepsy could gain more control and independence, which means they can take action to prevent injury, seek help or take medication.
Amélie Catala from the University of Rennes in France and in France The newspaper's first author said: "At the moment there are some anecdotes that some people report that dogs would be alerted to them before a seizure, but we have no strong ones Evidence in the scientific literature. "
She also said it was not clear whether in such cases the dogs relied on visual or subtle changes in behavior or smell and whether the indications were the same from person to person.
The latest study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, Catala and colleagues, sought to evaluate whether specially trained dogs could distinguish breath and body odor samples taken from epileptic patients during a seizure, from samples taken during normal and post-partum conditions taken from a training session. Before the test sessions, the dogs were trained to take seizure samples. They were then tested on samples from five patients with different forms of epilepsy.
Dogs' ability to detect positive outcomes was between 67% and 100%, while their ability to correctly identify negatives was between 95% and 100%. The results suggest that seizures are associated with certain odors, regardless of the type of seizure or body odor in the patient's background.
Scientists now plan to test whether this telltale smell preceded the seizure, potentially allowing dogs
A spokeswoman for the charity Epilepsy Action said some people have already relied on their dogs to predict seizures. "We still do not know if they're doing it through the smell or any other emotion," she said. "So this research is interesting and could be another step in understanding how dogs can further support people with uncontrolled epilepsy."
Rita Howson, Managing Director of Support Dogs, a charity that trains dogs to help people with autism. Epilepsy and other states said, "Dogs are very good observers of humans. Dogs know what happens when you remove their leash – their behavior indicates this. Their behavior may also change as it picks up more subtle clues – perhaps a smell or behavioral change in the client that occurs before an impending attack. "