University of North Carolina  –  While working to find novel ways to treat the life-threatening disease of cystic fibrosis, researchers at the University of North Carolina discovered that the rhythmic motion of the lungs during normal breathing is a critical regulator of the clearance of bacteria and other noxious materials. Their research, funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Institute of Health, was published in The Journal of Physiology.

Their findings have important implications in the understanding and treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common fatal genetic disease in the United States (30,000 sufferers) and the UK (7,500 sufferers). As a result of CF, the body produces abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing and chronic, life-threatening lung infections.

Dr. Brian Button and colleagues at the University of North Carolina’s Cystic Fibrosis Research and Treatment Center found that the rhythmic motion of the lung during normal breathing is important in establishing the rate of mucus clearance and can help the lung in responding to changes in lung environment, such as during a lung infection.

More importantly, in CF, they found that rhythmic motion of the lung can result in re-hydration of the airways and acceleration of mucus clearance, thus promoting lung health in CF patients. The researchers speculate that this may explain the preservation of mucus clearance in young CF patients prior to the onset of chronic infections.

The UNC researchers also suggest that these studies provide an understanding of the mechanism underlying the observed beneficial effects of physical and deep-breathing exercise in CF patients. “We believe that knowledge gained in these studies will be useful in developing novel therapeutic regimes to increase mucus clearance in the lungs of CF patients”, said Dr. Button.

Modest Genius Creates Medical Acoustics Lung Flute
People who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have bronchial cilia in their lungs that produce too much mucous. Acoustics engineer Sandy Hawkins has developed a flute that produces a sound that dislodges excess mucous in the lungs. In Popular Science, Corey Binns writes:

Hawkins began building an electronic sound machine that would produce waves of 16 hertz—the same frequency at which the cilia move—to help break up the mucus. Generating a hum of such a low frequency normally requires van-size subwoofers, and so he spent 15 years honing and shrinking the speakers.

Then one day as he was testing a mouthpiece filter for his machine, he noticed that blowing through it sent a slight vibration into his chest. Within five seconds, he sketched out the Lung Flute to amplify the effect. Blowing into the tube flaps a reed-thin sheet of plastic, which vibrates the chest and shakes the mucus until it’s thin and mobile enough for the cilia to usher it up your throat. “I felt so stupid because the answer was so simple,” Hawkins says

The nearly 10 million Americans who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease rely on medications and strenuous coughing to help break up the thick gobs of mucus clogging their lungs. The Lung Flute does the job with just 15 to 20 puffs of air. Blowing into the reed instrument (see the videos below) sends a steady 16-hertz vibration into a user’s chest, dislodging mucus in the lungs so that it’s easier to cough up. Scheduled to receive FDA approval by 2010, the flute also serves as an easy method for collecting deep-lung sputum for tuberculosis tests—especially useful in developing countries where TB is prevalent.

Sandy Hawkins’s Simple Lung Flute Cleans Sick Lungs

The plastic tube Sandy Hawkins hands me looks more like a toy horn than a medical device. Blowing into it, he tells me, will do wonders for my chest cold. I glance at the dozen or so people enjoying their mid-afternoon Starbucks and give it a few skeptical puffs.

The idea for the horn came one night in 1985. Hawkins, an acoustics engineer, and his colleagues began brainstorming how they could use sound to mess with various bodily functions. They joked about what frequency a toilet would need to vibrate at to force an uncontrollable bowel movement and, slightly more seriously, a way to dislodge goo in sick people’s lungs. Months later, Hawkins was reminded of that discussion when he learned that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, makes breathing tough for 10 million people, and causes 127,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. “It’s the number-four cause of death in the U.S.,” he says. “I thought, ‘Yeah, I should do something about this.’ ”

In healthy lungs, hairlike cilia on the bronchial walls wiggle in unison to ferry mucus up the trachea and into the mouth, where it can be swallowed or spit out. Patients with COPD, however, secrete more mucus than the cilia can remove, and thick gobs of the stuff build up in the lungs, making them a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to pneumonia. Vigorous coughing can help dislodge it, but many sufferers require drugs to open their airways; some need help from oxygen tanks. Annually, the combined cost of treatment totals upward of $27 billion.

Hawkins began building an electronic sound machine that would produce waves of 16 hertz—the same frequency at which the cilia move—to help break up the mucus. Generating a hum of such a low frequency normally requires van-size subwoofers, and so he spent 15 years honing and shrinking the speakers. Then one day as he was testing a mouthpiece filter for his machine, he noticed that blowing through it sent a slight vibration into his chest. Within five seconds, he sketched out the Lung Flute to amplify the effect. Blowing into the tube flaps a reed-thin sheet of plastic, which vibrates the chest and shakes the mucus until it’s thin and mobile enough for the cilia to usher it up your throat. “I felt so stupid because the answer was so simple,” Hawkins says.

Today, doctors in Japan use the $40 Lung Flute as a tool to collect sputum from patients suspected of carrying tuberculosis, and in Europe and Canada it’s used to help test phlegm for lung cancer. Clinical trials in the U.S. have shown that it is at least as effective as current COPD treatments. At press time, Hawkins expected the device to receive FDA approval any day, and says the reusable device could also provide home relief for patients with cystic fibrosis, influenza and asthma.

As Hawkins tells me all this, I notice that my cough has become more productive, and although he deserves my congratulations, I can’t stick around to chat. Instead, I head outside and march to a storm drain to resolve the situation. —Corey Binns

Bjorn Carey Demonstrates the Lung Flute

Best of What’s New 2009: Playing the Lung Flute from on Vimeo.

Sandy Hawkins’ Lung Flute Clears Mucus Simply by Blowing Into It

Kathleen Sebelius, MPA, HHS Secretary

Posted: 07/13/2010

Hi, I’m Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. As you know, we are in a period of change for our healthcare system. As healthcare professionals, you probably have a lot of questions about how the Affordable Care Act is going to affect you. And I’m sure you’re getting a lot of questions from your patients as well. Recently, we launched a brand new Website,, that will help answer those questions and give consumers a powerful new tool for navigating our health insurance markets. already has more than 500 pages of new content about the Affordable Care Act and what it means for our healthcare system. This includes a section just for professionals. If you have a question — for example, about efforts to simplify insurance paperwork or the new Medicare primary care payment bonuses — chances are that you can find the answer here. will also give consumers the ability to see all their public and private health insurance options in one place for the first time ever. The Website is already loaded with data from more than 1000 insurance carriers in addition to government programs like Medicaid and [Children’s Health Insurance Program] CHIP. And it’s all personalized so people can see the plans offered in their community that make sense for their situation.

This new site is a great resource for your patients whether they have insurance and are searching for a new plan or are uninsured and considering options like the new state-based Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans. Consumers can also use the site’s “health finder” tool to find recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on how to stay healthy.

Your patients trust you to help them understand the Affordable Care Act and choose among their health insurance options. As we continue to work to give Americans and their doctors more control over their healthcare, can be a great resource to help answer your questions and theirs.


BRUSSELS — E.T., call Brussels.

A European Union lawmaker called Tuesday for member governments to open their secret files on UFOs, saying people need to know about close encounters of the third kind.

Mario Borghezio, an Italian member of the European Parliament, told the Associated Press in an e-mail Tuesday that the EU needs its own “X Files” archive where anyone can see information on UFOs – including data gathered by the military. Borghezio said all European governments should go public and stop what he called a “systematic cover-up.”

Opening the files is not unprecedented: Last year, Britain published 4,000 pages online on 800 alleged encounters with aliens during the 1980s and 1990s. And over the past three years the British defense ministry has been gradually releasing previously secret UFO papers after facing Freedom of Information demands.

Borghezio also said it is essential to have a scientific center to research unidentified flying objects. Its investigations could have “major scientific and technological spinoffs,” he said.

“I think that, under the principle of transparency, the EU member states have a duty to make public and available to all scientific data on UFOs which today are partially or wholly withheld,” he wrote in the e-mail.

He is seeking the support of other lawmakers from the 736-member assembly for a statement calling on governments to act.

So far, though, he’s collected only 18 signatures.

Photo by mrclark321

Bloggers, if you’re in NYC this coming weekend, you might want to catch this film about staying young until the end of life.  Details are below.

We have not seen this film, so are not promoting it in any way.  It just sounds interesting; plus Dr. Aubrey de Grey’s research is not sci-fi. 

We did attend the New York City opening of Ray Kurzweil’s new film in which much futuristic research was presented.  In addition to mingling with us attendees, at the cocktail spread in the Time-Life Building, Kurzweil spoke before and after his film. Clearly he does believe that in the very near future, research will enable human life to extend longer than anyone could have imagined.

go to this website to read more….


TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE opens in New York City on July 16th at the Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Avenue (at 12th Street).

Show times are as follows: 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:15 pm, 5:30 pm, 7:45 pm, 10:15 pm.

On Friday, July 16th, Saturday, July 17th and Sunday, July 18th, director, Robert Kane Pappas, will introduce the 5:30 pm, 7:45 pm and 10:15 pm screening of the film and will be conduct a Q&A following the 5:30 pm and 7:45 pm screenings.


July 13, 2010

Director of TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE, Robert Kane Pappas, was interviewed by Mike Sargent of WBAI’s Nightshift yesterday afternoon by telephone for a program that aired last night (July12/13) at midnight. Nightshift is a weekly late-night radio magazine program, which covers a broad range of topics from entainment to global issues, including,
“Science fiction, …….

Thank You to Everyone Who Made the Preview at the Ross School a Success

July 8, 2010

We’d like to thank everyone who attended the preview screening of TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE at the Ross School in East Hampton last night.
A special thank you to Dr. Aubrey de Grey, for taking part in the Q&A following the film.  Also, a special thanks to Chris Engel, community programming coordinator for the Ross …….


July 5, 2010

What if You Could Live to be a Thousand?
Sag Harbor Filmmaker looks at the science that may allow us to outlive Methuselah
[The following contains extracts from an article that originally appeared in The Sag Harbor Express, July 1, 2010]
“Before Sag Harbor Filmmaker Robert Kane Pappas’ Documentary “To Age Or Not to Age” premieres in New ……

TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE Featured in Dan’s Papers

July 4, 2010

Documentary Asks: Is Aging Necessary
by Sharon Feiereisen, July 2, 2010
[This article originally ran in Dan’s Paper’s on July 2, 2010]
Is there a limit to how long we can live?  That’s the central question explored in the new documentary film TO AGE OR  NOT TO AGE.  Directed by award-winning Sag Harbor-based filmmaker Robert Kane Pappas, the …..

Film Review: Fountain of Youth – May Not Be A Fantasy!!!

June 30, 2010

I haven’t met too many people over 40 who can honesty say that aging is something they are looking forward to.   In fact, the subject of immortality has always been one of great fascination.  The resurgence of “vampire mania” only proves that point. Good vampire – bad vampire who cares as long as we get to live forever……

See the Film Before it Hits Theatres. The Sneak Preview July 7, 2010, East Hampton, NY

June 29, 2010

 Sag Harbor Basement Pictures &
Robert Kane Pappas
 Cordially Invite You to the Sneak Preview of a New Documentary before its Theatrical Release on July 16, 2010 @ the Village East Cinema in NYC
 to AGE or NOT to AGE
 Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 6 p.m.
@ the Ross School on Goodfriend Drive
East Hampton, NY….


June 17, 2010

Marcela Sanchez: A Better Option for Aging
By Marcela Sanchez
I just returned from an extended trip to see my parents in Colombia.  Their health has deteriorated this last year and by the time I arrived my father was in the hospital looking extremely thin and having difficulty breathing.  As he puts it, in nine months he….


June 8, 2010

Screening of TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE on Wednesday, July 7th in East Hampton, New York
Prior to its release to the general public on July 16th, Robert Kane Pappas, will host a special screening of  TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE at The Ross School, 18 Good Friend Drive in East Hampton, on July…..


June 5, 2010

In TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE,  Dr. Aubrey de Grey predicts that within a couple of decades (unless we get really unlucky), we will be able to begin to reverse aging in humans by developing therapies that will make us biologically younger.  The trick for middle-aged people living today is to stay young and……

Movie Review:”Everyone Should Really See It Themselves.”

June 2, 2010

By The Movie God
 Movie Review of To Age or Not To Age
Directed by: Robert Kane Pappas
Featuring: Dr. Lenny Guarente, Dr. Christoph Westphal, David Sinclair Ph.D., Stephen Austad Ph.D., Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D., Rev. Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco, Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., Dr. Thomas Kirkwood, Gordon Lithgow, Ph.D.
Sag Harbor Basement Pictures
Release Date: July 16, 2010 (limited)