Equine Respiratory Research Has Human Implications

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Science Daily reports that a team of researchers from Cornell University of Calgary, and Youngstown State University are working on the link between a horse's complex respiratory system and musculature that propels him during exercise. The research will help the researchers develop breathing apparatus for equine and human patients.

The coordination of the two systems is key for any horse to walk, trot, gallop or win a race. According to sciencedaily.com, their findings may provide a springboard for better muscular horse health, and a different approach to breathing devices for humans. The team presented their findings during a meeting at the end of September.

When a horse is running, its breathing and stride are linked in a 1:1 ratio, the researchers report, so for every stride they take, they also take one breath. The peak airflow they generate is very high (about 80 liters per second). Thus, a very small defect in the airway can cause a big decrease in performance.

According to Dr. Hermanson, spokesperson for the researchers "Horses are uniquely designed athletes that are exceptionally useful for the study of limbs, respiration and other systems of the body. This type of translational research benefits all concerned."