Dogs Trained to Smell Low Blood Sugar Levels May Save Lives
Dogs can be trained to use their sense of smell to recognize illegal drugs and explosives. So Mark Ruefenacht wondered if the animals also could recognize changes in the blood sugar level of people with diabetes.
Ruenfenacht has had the disease for much of his life. In 1999, he almost died while training a young dog to be a guide dog for the blind. Without any warning, his blood sugar suddenly dropped to a dangerously low level.
Ruefenacht said the dog stayed with him, and tried to keep him awake.
"More than likely, I had a seizure, from the low blood sugar. The dog liked me, and he stuck with me and I was able to get my blood sugar up."
When talking about a drop in blood sugar, doctors use the term hypoglycemia. Ruefenacht said his near death experience made him wonder if dogs could be trained to identify the chemical changes that happen during an attack, and then inform their owners.
Ruefenacht worked with scientists and financed research which found that the "smell" of hypoglycemia appears in both breath and sweat. He also worked with and studied animal trainers who teach dogs to recognize everything from explosives to cancer.
In addition, Ruefenacht started training a yellow Labrador retriever named Armstrong to tell him when he had a dangerously low blood sugar level.
The training was successful. Armstrong is now listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the world's first diabetes-detection dog.
Armstrong died in 2012.
Ruefenacht noted that after his early training successes, several organizations offered him a lot of money for the rights to his discoveries. He told VOA he refused those offers. Instead, in 2004, he created a group called Dogs4Diabetics, where he trains dogs to help people with diabetes.
Ruefenacht says training for a diabetes detection dog and its owner can cost up to $50,000. His organization raises money to cover the costs, so they can provide dogs for free to those in need.
The smell of hypoglycemia
To train the animals, Ruefenacht uses bottles containing swabs of sweat from a diabetic with low blood sugar, and containers of other smells, such as peanut butter, dog food, or plants. The dogs are given a treat when they choose the correct jar.
This "sweat jar" method for training diabetes detection dogs has been approved scientifically.
The next step is to teach the dog to alert the owner. The dogs are trained to use subtle signs at first. However, if those signals are ignored, the animals then put their paws on the owner's legs or shoulders. They learn to lick and put their nose in the owner's face, and make noises. If none of these methods work, the dogs are then trained to find someone else to help.
Ruefenacht says the dogs can often detect blood sugar dropping long before electronic systems send a warning sound.
Dogs4Diabetics has placed more than 100 dogs with diabetics. The group hopes to expand the program -- training people's "most loyal friend" to save lives and help diabetics around the world.
I'm Phil Dierking.
1.illegal drugs 违禁药品；毒品
I have never taken illegal drugs.
2.blood sugar 血糖
Hunger is the body's signal that levels of blood sugar are too low.
3.peanut butter 花生酱
I had two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
4.at first 起先；最初
At first I gave him the benefit of the doubt
5.Ruefenacht said the dog stayed with him, and tried to keep him awake.
keep awake 保持清醒
Can you will yourself to keep awake?
I was so tired that I couldn't keep awake.
6.In addition, Ruefenacht started training a yellow Labrador retriever named Armstrong to tell him when he had a dangerously low blood sugar level.
In addition 另外
In addition, the respondent disclosed professional confidences to one of the patients.
In addition, interest on Treasury issues isn't subject to state and local income taxes.
经过培训的狗能够利用它们的嗅觉识别毒品和爆炸物。因此，马克·鲁芬纳克特（Mark Ruefenacht）好奇，这种动物是否能识别出糖尿病患者的血糖变化 。
鲁芬纳克特这大半辈子都饱受糖尿病的折磨。1999年，他在训练年幼的导盲犬时差点丧命 。在丝毫没有预警的情况下，他的血糖突然下降到危险的低水平 。
鲁芬纳克特指出，早期的训练成功后，有几家组织为他的发现提供了大量资金。他告诉美国之音，自己拒绝了这些资金 。相反，他于2014年创立了Dogs4Diabetics组织，以便帮助糖尿病患者训练检测犬 。
接下来是训练检测犬提醒主人。最初，训练这些狗使用细微的信号 。但是，如果这些信号被忽视，那么狗会把爪子放在主人的腿上或肩上 。它们会学习舔舐，把鼻子凑到主人脸上并且发出声响 。如果以上方法仍不奏效，那么接受过训练的狗会向其他人求助 。