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Singing Loud in Groups May Benefit COPD Patients: Study

Participating in community singing sessions and singing their lungs out may benefit patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), said researchers whose previous studies on small numbers of participants and short duration of generally hospital-based singing group intervention proved beneficial.

The latest study examines the feasibility of long-term participation in a community singing group for patients with COPD who had completed pulmonary rehabilitation (PR). The weekly program recruited 140 to a new community-based singing group which met weekly for over one year.

Measurements at baseline, 4 months and 1 year comprised comprehensive pulmonary function tests including lung volumes, 6 min walk test, Clinical COPD Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and hospital admission days for acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD) for one year before and after the first singing group session.

Findings have shown that on Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) score, difference between baseline and 12 months was −0.9, 95% CI −3.0 to 1.2, p=0.37. A significant reduction was observed for HADS anxiety score after 1 year of −0.9 (95% CI −1.8 to −0.1) points, p=0.038 and an increase in the 6MWT at 1 year, of 65 (95% CI 35 to 99) m compared with baseline p<0.001.

The scientists are upbeat that their findings support the feasibility of long-term participation in a community singing group for adults with COPD who have completed PR and are enrolled in a weekly community exercise group and provide evidence of improved exercise capacity and a reduction in anxiety. The study was published in BMJ.

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