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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Take a Virtual Journey Into the Lungs

Published May 18, 2010 8:58 AM by Sharlene George

First, there's a rumble. Then comes a booming voice: "It is a silent killer."

Next, riders are shuttling toward planet Earth on an interactive voyage aimed to raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The 20-seat state-of-the-art mobile motion simulator called COPD Shuttle: Journey to the Center of the Lung, is the brainchild of John Walsh, president of the COPD Foundation. The shuttle took its inaugural journey at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in New Orleans this week.

ATS attendees climbed aboard to view a five-minute unique educational presentation that twisted and turned through the lungs, bronchiole airways, and alveoli. Along the way, passengers slid in their seats and got a microscopic look at the damage caused by smoking and other air pollutants. The ride shuddered to a stop, and the experience concluded with valuable take-home messages such as to stop smoking and to consider spirometry testing.

The response at ATS has been "phenomenal," according to Ifdy Perez, communications manager for the COPD Foundation. "We see lots of smiles from passengers coming off." The COPD Foundation chose to launch the shuttle at ATS 2010 to demonstrate the wide range of patient educational resources the COPD Foundation has available for physicians, Perez said.

The shuttle will travel on its custom-built tractor-trailer throughout the country over the next year to health fairs, schools, and sporting events. Its next stop will be in Raleigh, N.C., for a health and fitness expo. It will be the shuttle's first flight for a public audience. The event also will feature respiratory therapists who will perform on-site spirometry screenings. For more information, go to

Click here and here for more ATS Coverage.


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