From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fido's feelings: Proof at last

(Photo by Perhols)
Would you drop a young child off by the side of the road, hoping that someone will come along and provide a good home for him or her?

If the answer is (hopefully) a resounding "No!" – then you may want to treat dogs with the same amount of concern.  Recent groundbreaking research by neuroscientist Gregory Bynes of
Emory University explains why.

In an article for The New York Times titled Dogs are People, TooBynes describes the results of his M.R.I. scanning of a dozen
"completely awake and unrestrained" dogs.

Whereas "conventional veterinary practice" has said that you have to "anesthetize animals so they don't move during a scan," Bynes was able to train these dogs to "hold rock-still for periods of up to 30 seconds" within the scanner. He did this via the use of positive reinforcement and earmuffs (to protect sensitive canine hearing
from "the 95 decibels of noise the scanner makes."

Results of these scans indicated marked similarities within the caudate nucleus regions of dogs and humans.  The caudate nucleus is an area of the brain that is associated with attractions to food, companions, music, and even beauty.

These beyond-behavioral results also indicate that dogs may very well have "a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child."  If so, it seems incumbent upon human society to rethink its less-than stellar treatment of those whom we like to call "man's best friend."


Copyright October 12, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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