Emphysema and woodwinds

    
Emphysema and woodwinds    17:22 on Thursday, October 1, 2009          

jose_luis
(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

I did not know, but there seems to be widespread opinion that wind musicians have increased risks of developing lung emphysema.

Have you heard this? What do you think? What about the flute players? Know anybody that caught it? I know a few people, all heavy smokers, none was/is musician.

Not that I will quit my flute because of emphysema risks or for anything else on earth, but it could be interesting to know. Or at least to discuss the subject.

Another extended myth is that Oboe players are prone to insanity! Sounds crazy in itself...


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    20:39 on Thursday, October 1, 2009          

JOhnlovemusic
(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

EMPHYSEMA
Emphysema is presently thought to develop as a reaction from irritants introduced into the airway (your alveoli). An infection occurs and disintegrates the small air sacs. I suppose someone could make an argument that playing in a hazardous environment could lead to emphysema, but playing in normal environments should not lead to emphysema.

BRAIN DISEASE
Oboe and French Horn have for many years been rumored to contribute to brain disease. For the most part it is rumor. However, there is some techincial truthness to it's possibility. Often times Oboe and Horn players feel they must take a breath because they have run out of air when in actuality they have lots of air still in their lungs, but the body has converted it to CO2. So they are really letting poisonous gas out. Technically this poison CO2 is starving the brain from valuable oxygen - - technically. But it probably is not enough to really have serious effects. Walking downtown in a major city is probably worse for your brain.

Some players use a type of technique that does cause and enormous amount of pressure against the spinal discs in the cervical spine area. If someone has a compromised cervical spine this extra pressure could result in a rush of spinal fluid overcoming the semi-permeable membrane between the spine and brain fluids resulting is improper spinal fluids entering into the brain area - which would result in a very intense, acute, and debilitating migraine headache and loss of conciousness. Could it kill you? ? ? ---- yeah, it could - but it is rare and most people would stop playing before it became too dangerous. If someone did develop this problem (and I know someone who did) there are exercises to do that lessen and prevent it.


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    21:17 on Thursday, October 1, 2009          

musicman_944
(257 points)
Posted by musicman_944

I doubt that there is any substance to that claim. The only way that I could see someone possibly developing emphysema from playing flute or any other instrument would be if their instrument was contaminated with some substance that is known to contribute to the disease. Even then they would have to be inhaling through the instrument to suck in the contaminant.

Another tale says that trumpet players and oboe players tend to get strokes or burst blood vessels in their brain because of the high resistance of the instrument. That might be a possibility, but I would think the person might have had some existing condition or been predisposed to it before playing would contribute any negative effects.


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    04:54 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

Bilbo
(1340 points)
Posted by Bilbo

I believe that if one were to investigate this subject, the discussion dates back about 150 years to medical journals of the time.

and I think that the best reply for this, I believe comes from one google book source that I found online:

Annual reports on diseases of the chest, Volume 1
By Horace Dobell and it was written in .......1875.


"2 After a small gauge had been inserted into the mouth at one of its angles various wind instruments were tried trained performers only being used for the purposes of experiment and the pressure exerted being only just sufficient for the production of an average orchestral tone The greatest difference between the highest and lowest note was found in the clarionet these requiring fifteen and eight inches of pressure respectively It was noted that the force required was in general small not exceeding or indeed attaining the pressure of a fit of sneezing or of coughing and it was therefore concluded that wind instruments are very unlikely to injure the lungs or to produce the emphysema erroneously attributed to them London Med Eec Oct 7 1874 "


~bilbo
N.E. Ohio


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    09:37 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

jose_luis
(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Yes, it seems to be a myth that has persisted over a century.

I started this thread because the other day I commented with a colleague at the swimming pool that I was studying the flute. His comment was: Oh so nice, it's a pity that it can produce emphysema....


Concerning the CO2 theory, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is not a poison in any sense; it is part of all carbonated drinks so popular as Coca Cola.

There may be a confusion with CO (carbon monoxide), which is a powerful poison because it fixes on blood haemoglobin cells and prevents them to carry oxygen to the body cells. But the human body cannot produce CO internally in any way. It is a product of incomplete combustion (for this reason it is present in small quantities in cigarette smoke and in traffic exhaust gases).



Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    12:32 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

Bilbo
(1340 points)
Posted by Bilbo

"I started this thread because the other day I commented with a colleague at the swimming pool that I was studying the flute. His comment was: Oh so nice, it's a pity that it can produce emphysema...."

Hmm, interesting. I wonder where his information came from on this.
Regarding music in general and the flute more specifically, there are a lot of misconceptions I think floating about the pool of consciousness regarding music's bad influences and evil natures.
If you ask me generally, they are old wives tales which have no basis in fact. For example, it may have been at one time, an individual with emphysema visited a doctor and the doctor associated his illness with the fact that he was a known flutist without considering enough evidence of other possibilities.
For my hist., my grandfather (a smoker) died of emphysema but he was 89 and he was told to smoke by a doctor here in the US about 1920. He didn't play music in any way as far as I know.
I also smoked for a few years (It was rather popular back in the 60s.) and at one point while I was taking a univ. flute lesson, there were three prof's in the studio room smoking various manner of tobacco while I was trying to have a lesson. One of the profs was my own flute instructor.
Regarding the flute, I can say that I experienced more viruses and colds back when I was smoking that I could attribute to also playing the flute but since I stopped smoking, these sinus infections and colds are much more rare. I can say from experience that I believe that the effects of nicotine on flute playing aren't good because it constricts the small blood vessels. When you want more lip control and sensation, the nicotine can cause less.
So, I attribute flute playing directly to nothing ill in particular but practicing is an addictive habit that is actually more good for the body and soul than anything detrimental that could happen....other than possibly annoying your family members and the neighbors.

~bilbo
N.E. Ohio


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    13:32 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

jose_luis
(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Yeah, I am also curious about hw did he get this information. I will ask him on the next opportunity, but we swimm most of the time and there is little opportunity to talk.

No doubt smoking is bad for everything, except for the tobacco industry and for undertakers. I hate it, as I attribute my father's premature death to this habit. I has also afected me as a child, becuse I shared his smoke at home. I have suffered countless bronchitis until my teens. I hope anyway that it had no long term bad effects, although in my case, that future is already now for me.


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    17:05 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

JOhnlovemusic
(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

jose_luis,

CO2 is a poison. you might not think it is an 'acute' poison, but it is a 'chronic' poison. It is a waste product your body must get rid of. Even if you have enough 'oxygen' if you can't get rid of CO2, your oxygen intake will do very little for you. CO2 displaces oxygen (this is why it is used in fire extinguishers).


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    17:47 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

Swily_Staff
(20 points)
Posted by Swily_Staff

How do you you people now this????Did evey one go to medical shcool?


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    21:57 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

vampav8trix
(445 points)
Posted by vampav8trix

I believe that if one were to investigate this subject, the discussion dates back about 150 years to medical journals of the time.


If you think about it; a lot of people smoked back then. That would mean more cases of Emphysema.

Tobacco was still big business in the US.

I couldn't imagine smoking and trying to play the flute. I can't breathe in a smokey room. I am amazed when I come across a wind instrument player who smokes. Some of them can sustain notes for quite a long time. I wonder how much longer they could hold a note if they didn't smoke.


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    21:59 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

vampav8trix
(445 points)
Posted by vampav8trix

I did not know, but there seems to be widespread opinion that wind musicians have increased risks of developing lung emphysema.


Probably from all the jazz musicians playing in smoky bars.


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    23:25 on Friday, October 2, 2009          

JOhnlovemusic
(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

Swily_Staff,

Different schools require different courses. Example, my first college required working with human cadavers in the first year. I know several voice professors with PhD's who were required to do cadaver disection as part of their doctoral program.

A lot of musicians I play with either have advanced medical training, are doctors or surgeons, and/or teach surgery at medical schools.


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    04:37 on Saturday, October 3, 2009          

jose_luis
(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Swily_Staff,

I do not like to make strong assessments on things I do not know sufficiently. There is always the temptation, however and I fall in it now and then. I am not sure whether your question is direct or means that we are (probably) talking about things we do not of.

The mechanism of haemoglobin sequestering by CO is a general knowledge (and it should), necessary to understand the important risks of CO poisoning and how to avoid them.

I am a professional of other area and not a doctor; my knowledge on medical issues comes from my curiosity and much reading about the subjects that interest me for different reaasons.

My father died of heart infarctus, after suffering other illness taht can all be attributed to his habit of smoking. So it was natural for me to find out about these risks. I am now 5 years older than the age my father had when he passed and I believe that knowing about these things increases my chances.

Concerning the debate whether CO2 is a poison or not, I accept Johnlove position and I think we should not continue debating this. I t is, also thinly related to Emphysema in musicians.

I am very happy, in any case, that this subject I introduced has triggered so much attention and participation. I believe we were missing the activity of other times here.


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    05:30 on Saturday, October 3, 2009          

Bilbo
(1340 points)
Posted by Bilbo

"I couldn't imagine smoking and trying to play the flute. I can't breathe in a smokey room. I am amazed when I come across a wind instrument player who smokes. Some of them can sustain notes for quite a long time. I wonder how much longer they could hold a note if they didn't smoke."

Some answers. As I said, smoking was in earlier times not considered as an addictive drug akin to the illegal ones although it was known that it was addictive AND bad for you. When I was young, smoking as advertised everywhere, on billboards, magazines, in movies and on TV. So, if you wanted to be cool, you should smoke cigarettes like the movie stars, James Dean, Marlin Brando and not only any cigarette but the same brand that they used. Even back in the mid 70's in the movie "Jaws", you can see the town's mayor smoking a cigarette in the hospital lobby like there's nothing wrong with it.

As far as the effects on your breathing. It depends on the individual and the amount, but at first, the lungs aren't damaged greatly. One smoking experience doesn't do that to you. It happens gradually over years as the individual is also becoming addicted to the nicotine physically and psychologically.
So, the lungs basically still work...until serious damage occurs later on.
One only has to look at the Marcel Moyse study books (With the black covers) and see his picture with the pipe. If you look up Moyse's history, he grew up in a family which owned a tobacco store and he smoked cigarette tobacco in his pipe as opposed to pipe tobacco. Moyse also had other lung problems from his childhood which led to asthma but his lungs still worked like a bellows and he probably practiced very hard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFlRDum4wY

~bilbo
N.E. Ohio


Re: Emphysema and woodwinds    08:58 on Saturday, October 3, 2009          

JOhnlovemusic
(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

I am glad jose_luis brought this topic up. debate or not it surely gets us all to thinking.

Back to what Emphysema is - - emphysema is the breakdown of your smallest air sacs in your lungs. They get infected and fall apart from the inside out.These air sacs are called alveoli. Your lungs are designed like hanging bunches of grapes. The Bronchiole are the grape branches and the alveoli are the grapes. The small alveoli is where your body exchanges CO2 and Oxygen. As the Alveoli breakdown you lose the ability to exchange oxygen for CO2.

I know several people who are heavy smokers. My father smoked at least 6 packs a day. As mentioned above it was common for people to smoke anywhere, my father was a teacher and smoked in class (it was allowed back then). Another friend smokes heavily, but he plays sports heavily also. He gets chest xrays and they come out clean. He is supposing that the heavy breathing from playing sports helps clean out the smoke particles that go into his lungs (that's his claim not mine).

Perhaps playing a musical intrument can help people with emphysema. Now that we have been talking about this - - - When I played professionally I never had breathimg problems. When I stopped playing professionally years ago I ended up with asthma and had to carry an inhaler with me often. When I went back to playing professionally I have not had to use an inhaler in I don't know how many years. I assume the constant exercising of the lungs does keep them in better condition and must help clean out any crud that's in there.


   








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