It wasn’t a true “fantastic voyage” to remove a blot clot in the brain, but 14 students from did take a journey inside the human body last Thursday, getting an up-close experience with the human lungs.
The students climbed aboard the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Foundation’s “COPD Shuttle,” a multi-sensory demonstration of the health risks of smoking and air pollution on the lungs, at the Wellness Pavilion on Franklin Avenue.
The mission of the COPD Foundation is to develop and support programs, which improve the quality of life through research, education, early diagnosis, and enhanced therapy for persons whose lives are impacted by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – a term that describes several progressive lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and emphysema. Symptoms of COPD are often mistaken for a normal part of aging and include shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue.
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The lung-shaped shuttle is a 20-seat state-of-the-art mobile motion simulator that takes riders on a 5-minute microscopic journey to the center of the lungs.
Doctors as well as patients who suffer from chronic bronchitis, non-reversible asthma, emphysema and other COPD related ailments discussed several health issues with students before they entered the exhibit, which took them through the winding tunnel-like interior of an at-first healthy lung, as a narrator explains how COPD can develop.
The students then saw pollutants in the form of dust particles and smoke bits jump onto the tunnel’s walls and narrow passage to better illustrate how the lung is damaged by environmental pollutants and smoking.
COPD, which is almost completely preventable, affects 24 million people in the United States. It is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting about 12 million people and contributes to an estimated $42.6 billion in health care costs and lost productivity.