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WHAM study is a go-go

WHAM 920x540

Could singing classes help those with lung problems maintain the benefits of their rehabilitation?

A new study from Brunel University London and Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust hopes to find the answer by providing those who have been through pulmonary rehabilitation, which can help those with lung conditions to manage their symptoms, to join group singing lessons.

Currently, many of the improvements seen in people who undertake pulmonary rehabilitation are lost about a year after completing a programme, mainly due to the absence of continued supervised training, which is not widely available. 

Now, the new two-year, £249,000 WHAM programme (Maintaining the benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation With Harmonies And Melodies via Singing for Lung Health), funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), hopes to extend these benefits by helping participants learn techniques that will help them control their breathing, using singing exercises and tools to improve their breathing control and help them to cope with their lung condition.

Dr Adam Lewis, a physiotherapy lecturer at Brunel and an honorary researcher at the Trust, is leading the project and hopes to prove that the project is feasible – paving the way for a larger clinical trial in the future to demonstrate any clinical benefits. 

“I’m so excited to start this research, which has been developed and supported by people living with various respiratory conditions” said Dr Lewis. This award will enable patients with different respiratory conditions across London to access a potentially valuable therapy when current choices are limited. 

“Should patients be willing to participate in singing groups following pulmonary rehabilitation, or be randomised to receive standard home exercises only, it will be feasible to scale up our work into a further definitive trial.”  

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