Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Helium helps patients breathe easier

06.02.2007
It makes for bobbing balloons and squeaky voices, but now helium is also helping people with severe respiratory problems breathe easier.

Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada have discovered that by combining helium with 40 per cent oxygen allowed patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to increase their exercise capacity by an average of 245 per cent. COPD is a disease of the lungs caused by smoking and includes the conditions of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

This was the first study to demonstrate that helium-hyperoxia (40 per cent oxygen, 60 per cent helium) improves the exercise tolerance of COPD patients to a greater extent than oxygen alone, which is currently used for treating patients with this disorder. People with severe COPD typically struggle for every breath while exercising and any improvements that could be made to their ability to perform exercise could have significant clinical implications.

The results of the study were published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine.

Patients with COPD have difficulty breathing out and often air is trapped in the lungs at the end of each breath; this has been shown to be one of the primary reasons for the shortness of breath experienced by these patients. Combining the helium and hyperoxia slows down the frequency of breathing while making the air easier to breathe. This combined effect reduces the amount of air trapped in the lungs during exercise.

"This means they don't have to work as hard to breathe and they are not so short of breath during exercise, which allows them to do more," said Dr. Neil Eves, lead author on the study. Eves conducted the study for his PhD dissertation at the University of Alberta.

In the study 10 clinically stable men with moderate to severe COPD were each given four different mixes of gases including room air, while they exercised. During each test they were monitored for exercise time, breathing capacity, work of breathing and symptoms of exertion. The best results were achieved with a mix of 40 per cent oxygen and 60 per cent helium.

The helium-hyperoxia mixture improved the exercise tolerance of the patients by 245 per cent compared with air (21 per cent oxygen, 79 per cent nitrogen), by 56 per cent compared with hyperoxia (40 per cent oxygen, 60 per cent nitrogen) and 116 per cent compared with a "normal" oxygen-helium gas (21 per cent oxygen, 79 per cent helium).

"If patients were to breathe helium-hyperoxia in a rehabilitation setting, they could potentially perform a lot more exercise, which may improve their exercise capacity, fitness level and as a result, quality of life," Eves said.

Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>