Helium may be beneficial for lung patients

March 10th, 2009 - 1:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 10 (ANI): Researchers from University of Calgary have suggested an innovative therapy to help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) breathe easier.

Lead researcher Neil Eves, PhD has found that patients who breathed a mix of 60pct helium and 40 pct oxygen during a rehabilitation program were able to exercise longer and harder than those who breathed normal air.

“COPD is not curable,” said Eves, a researcher with the Faculties of Kinesiology and Medicine.

“Our hope is that this research will help more individuals with COPD to realize the benefits of exercise,” he added.

Eves said he chose this specific gas mixture, because helium is a less dense gas that allows patients suffering with COPD to empty their damaged lungs better, while oxygen slows their breathing and further helps to reduce the shortness of breath these patients commonly suffer from.

During the study, individuals with COPD breathed either the helium/oxygen mix or air during cycling exercise.

While both groups improved their tolerance for exercise over a six-week rehabilitation program, the group that trained with helium could exercise significantly longer following rehabilitation than the control group.

“We are always interested in innovations that can help to improve the effectiveness of our health interventions,” said Dr. Sandra Delon, PhD, the director of Alberta Health Services” Chronic Disease Management Program.

“We”ve already seen some promising results in this pilot program, so we”re very encouraged,” she added. (ANI)

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