• Other donations for the Chair have been received from from George and Rubye Richey, as well as Gisela Ventura. Thank you!
  • Mary Burns and the PEP Pioneers have made donations in memory of Elizabeth Connolly and Jack Bauman. We don't usually write eulogies since so many of the friends we loose are special, and worth writing about. Their stories and accomplishments could take up the whole newsletter. Elizabeth and Jack, however, were two people that we knew well, and that many of you also knew, having seen them on the PERF video, or on slide presentations Mary has shown around the world. Both of them were an inspiration to others, as well as to the health care professionals fortunate enough to work with them.
  • Elizabeth had the distinction of walking a 10 K several months after graduating from rehab! She got a medal even though, of course, she was the oldest person in the race! She was also the only “racer” on oxygen at night. What a marvelous accomplishment. Elizabeth was also proud to have served as the patient representative on the PERF Board of Directors, as well as having once been its secretary.
  • Jack wrote many articles for the Second Wind and many of you read about how he managed to travel with oxygen, as well as his experiences with transtracheal oxygen. Jack also helped Mary put together a series of slides for her tour of Japan, which helped inspire our Japanese friends to start their own pulmonary rehab programs.
  • We join with all the families and friends of Elizabeth and Jack in mourning our loss. But we also wish to celebrate and honor the remarkable achievements in their lives. They both handled their severe respiratory problems with courage, humor, and the remarkable ability to turn that disability into a force for good that spread around the world. Elizabeth and Jack, we miss you, we salute you, and we will remember you always.
  • Ann Wentink and Dr. Ralph Richardson made donations in honor of Mary Burns. Thank you, my friends!
  • As of December, the Health Care financing Administration (HCFA), which oversees Medicare, announced that it would begin paying for PET scans used to diagnose cancer of the lung, esophagus, colon, rectum, mouth, and throat as well as lymphoma and melanoma. Previously Medicare paid for PET scan studies in very few instances. The HCFA announcement will give physicians greater latitude to order PET scans for Medicare beneficiaries suspected of having lung and other cancers. It is expected that Medi-care will implement its new PET scan policy no later than July 2001.
  • Our grateful thanks to Alan Morrison, Weldon Kelly, Donald Butler, Yasuo Masumaka, The Second Wind Group, and Dr.& Mrs. Paul Selecky for their generous donations.
  • We've gotten a lot of positive response to sharing a few of our e-mails with you, so here are some more questions that may be of general interest.
  • An occupational therapy student asks, “I was discussing the importance of exhaling during a concentric or isometric movement with a peer of mine. It was my understanding that holding your breath during this type of movement could be damaging to brain cells, but I am not sure. Is this true and, if so, could you explain or direct me to a resource that gives me the scientific reasons for this type of breathing?
  • We turned this one over to Dr. Brian Tiep who answered:
    The question of breathing technique during exercises such as weight lifting and isometrics leads to many strong arguments for or against any technique. Yet, there is little definitive research to answer these questions and bring conclusive scientific support for any of these techniques. The most outstanding exception to this notion is pursed lips breathing. There is considerable evidence that good pursed lips breathing (PLB) will relieve breathlessness and improve the body's ability to gather oxygen. Patients with COPD especially appreciate these benefits.
  • However, breathing is more than the exchange of gases: oxygen in, car-bon dioxide out, repeat as necessary. Breathing engenders a personal philosophy and character that is highly individualized. To be sure, people's breathing patterns are, in part, a response to the physiological needs of their body. They are also a reflection of their emotions, their creative juices, and their ability to manage the situation at hand. There is no one breathing pattern that fits all.
  • Control of breathing is enabling. It establishes a rhythm, in singing, playing wind instruments, stretching, thinking and creating a character inherent to a chosen endeavor. Indeed, breathing is essential to all bodily processes as it creates a balance and a confidence when we can consciously bring it under our control. It is visible, modifiable and therefore such control often engenders a sense of empowerment.
  • When applied to exercise pro-grams, breathing techniques often produce a rhythm that takes the exercise to fruition. The pattern that is created is highly individualized, but is usually smooth and flowing, so that the exercise itself flows. Hence, very little breath holding is involved. And, when it is, it is usually transient; perhaps 1 or 2 seconds. The problem with breath holding is that many people bear down create a pressure inside their chest, similar to bearing down to have a bowel movement (technically known as a Valsalva maneuver). This bearing down pressure inside the chest can be felt by the heart and major blood vessels. In persons with a normal heart and lungs, the impact is minimal be-cause it is rapidly compensated by the body.
  • You were concerned that breath holding may damage brain cells. This is very unlikely. Breath holding is also unnecessary. During any exercise you would be much better served by a smooth and flowing breathing pattern. This would apply to both weight lifting and isometrics. A long slow exhalation during isometrics will prevent the build up of pressures and help to comfortably maintain the effort a little longer.
    Enjoy your exercise and the New Year,
    Brian L Tiep, MD
  • Whew! That was some explanation, Brian! Thanks for your information