Stories tagged lungs

Sep
28
2007

Breathing easier: Irish accordions are happier these days now that they're being played in smoke-free venues. Build up of soot and odors in the instruments was impacting the sounds that they make. (Flickr photo by schwa23)
Breathing easier: Irish accordions are happier these days now that they're being played in smoke-free venues. Build up of soot and odors in the instruments was impacting the sounds that they make. (Flickr photo by schwa23)
Minnesota’s statewide smoking ban starts on Monday (Oct. 1) and humans aren’t the only one who’ll benefit from it.

According to a study being conducted in Ireland, musical instruments that are played in the now smoke-free bars and pubs of that country are experiencing a better quality of their life. The new findings have recently been published in the British Medical Journal.

But the more you think about it, instruments like an accordion are a lot more like a set of lungs than anything else. They draw in and exhale air to create their, uh, unique sound.

The Irish smoking ban in public places has been in effect since 2004. And while many studies have been conducted to test the health benefits to people who work in the pubs, bars and restaurants that now have cleaner air, this new study is the first to look at the impact on instruments. And not so coincidently, one of the researchers is an accordion player. Other instruments checked out in the study were concertinas, melodeons and Uilleann (Irish) bagpipes, all of which are bellows-driven.

How do they know the instruments are happier and healthier since the ban? Researchers contacted the repair workers for the instruments in the country. They reported that prior to the ban, they’d get a blast of foul odors when opening up the instruments to do repairs. They also found sooty particles in the tubing and chambers of the instrument. Get enough of that gunk in there, and the tones the instrument was putting out could be affected.

Now there’s something to dance a jig about!

This week the Surgeon General released a report centering on the dangers of secondhand smoke. The Surgeon General stated, “There is no safe level of secondhand smoke-even a few minutes inhaling someone else’s smoke harms nonsmokers.”

On May 11, 1987, doctors in Baltimore transplanted the heart and lungs of an auto accident victim to a patient who gave up his own heart to a second recipient. Clinton House, the nation's first living heart donor, died 14 months later. Want to know more about organ or body donation? Check the Buzz next week for a new feature!

Apr
27
2006


Popcorn: Courtesy Saffanna

Artificial flavoring is a big part of our food industry whether we like it or not. But the use of one chemical might be causing a potentially fatal lung disease, bronchiolitis obliterans, in the workers who handle it. Investigators have found an alarmingly high number of cases of this disease in Midwestern popcorn workers and have linked it to the cheap flavoring diacetyl. Diacetyl helps to give the popcorn a butter flavor.

Scientists at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and industry leaders are clashing over what should be done. This report on the industry's reactions to safety claims outlines how science is never a fixed standard. Everyone in this issue seems to disagree: the industry scientists, health officials, workers.

What do you think?