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Natural asthma treatment project wins SciFest

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 14/11/2016. Natural asthma treatment project wins SciFestTags: Teachers Parenting

Caolann Brady, a sixth year student from St. Wolstan’s Community School, Celbridge, Kildare was named the overall winner of SciFest 2016, for her project ‘Hum your way to better health’ – a project which focussed on the natural treatment of asthma through humming and breathing techniques as opposed to using inhalers and nebulisers.

She is the first female student to take the overall prize at the SciFest national final. Of the 58 students who exhibited their 31 Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) projects at the national final 65% (35) were female. SciFest is an all-island STEM initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second level students. This year saw a record number of over 8,000 students exhibiting their projects in local and regional science fairs across the country. 
Caolann was born with asthma and has suffered many asthma attacks which were treated by nebulisers.  This sparked her interest in the area and led to her award winning project ‘Hum your way to better health’.  Research has shown that the ventilation of the paranasal sinuses (inhaling and exhaling) increases greatly when a person practiced specifically defined humming techniques.

Caolann set about exploring whether this was true or not. Conducting experiments with 175 participants, she asked them to hum into a paper bag at a precise pitch for a specified length of time, 45 seconds, which yielded significant post, peak expiratory flow readings. Test result analysis from this project has shown that the prescribed humming technique improves lung function across the range of ages, genders and breathing capabilities by an average of 10% with 99.9% statistical confidence. This positive impact on the respiratory system also lasts on average for 45 minute duration. 
Humming combined with nasal breathing improves the general lung function of sufferers and non-sufferers alike, providing an alternative solution to commercial, pharma-intervention treatments for breathing disorders
Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland, presented Caolann Brady with her prize – the SciFest 2016 Science Foundation Ireland Grand Award. The final was also attended by Richard Bruton T.D., Minister for Education and Skills. The prize includes the opportunity to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2017 in Los Angeles, California. 
SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel Ireland and Boston Scientific.


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