What do you think, is it possible to tell just by looking at a person’s sick or not? This assumption may seem to be yet another fairy tale about the psychic abilities of some people, but nature still gave Homo Sapiens the ability. And to learn about the presence of infection of another person even in the early stages of the disease simply by looking at his face. This confirms the work of a team of researchers from Cornell Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, which was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. According to experts, our ability to recognize disease on the person is quite developed. Who would have thought?
As we assessed each other’s faces
It is well known that when meeting people immediately evaluate the attractiveness, credibility, dominance, and read basic emotions on the face. In a simple experiment, the authors of the study injected healthy volunteers either placebo or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an endotoxin, which triggers an inflammatory response in the body, simulating the physical response to the disease. The researchers took photos of each test two hours after injection and after blood tests showed that the inflammatory response has begun.
This is interesting: How do we recognize faces and why some do it better than others?
Then to the lab welcomed new observers to study the images. In the first trial, observers reported whether they thought the subject in the photo sick or not, assigning scores from 0 to 1. The first time observers scored 0.62 points, which means that their ability to detect the patient’s first sight was not accidental. In the second trial, the observers drew attention to the particular signs on the face, which pointed to the fact that man is sick. Judging from the responses of the observers, people who have been introduced to injection of LPS was pale lips and skin, swollen face, mouth corners drooping, eyelids seemed droopy and red eyes. From all these figures pale lips were the most obvious sign of the disease is noted by observers. And you recognize the symptoms of the disease on the faces of other people? Let’s talk about it in our Telegram chat.
How do we recognize signals of a disease?
From an evolutionary point of view, the detection and prevention of contact with sick people is a prerequisite for survival. Animals with powerful olfactory abilities can afford to detect chemical signs of disease in the urine and feces. And although there is some evidence that people can smell the patient, our ability to visual the diagnosis can be much more sophisticated than the ability to detect odors. However, one should not forget that people have noticed the disease in other a few hours after infection. This suggests that the thin and barely visible signs on the face can warn us about the disease before the first and severe symptoms. Scientists say that this ability for early detection of disease is key, because people tend to be most contagious in the early days of the disease. Thus, our sensitivity to changes on the face may be a fair warning to stay away.
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Despite the findings, researchers have recommended additional verification of the obtained results to improve the accuracy of determining the disease in the face. This can be done for example, through training, and once you have verified whether similar identification for diseases and ethnic groups. In the future, scientists would like to narrow down the number of signals which can determine a person is sick or not, and consider the external signs of emotions such as anger and fear. The fact that there are commonalities in the changes that occur with individuals tired and sick people. In addition, the study raised a number of additional questions, including about the impact of certain diseases on facial features, and whether health workers to better identify patients through the practice of recognition. what do you think would be useful such technology?