Pigeons Pathologists Learn to Detect Cancer
Pigeons are trained to recognize subtle signs of cancer in medical images.
Pigeons were trained for two weeks, in which they were shown pictures of cancerous and normal tissues. The birds pecked in one place if they saw cancer, and another when they didn't, and were rewarded when they pecked correctly. After two weeks, they were reliably able to spot cancer in new images better than 80% of the time.
Dr Wasserman hopes to use the pigeons to help understand what are the most important diagnostic features in the images, and, perhaps, even find new ways of training doctors by finding out how pigeons learn best.