Leaving Cert student represents Ireland at LA science competition

SciFest winner Caolann Brady to present her work on asthma treatment at Intel ISEF 2017

Caolann Brady of St Wolstans Community School, Celbridge, pictured at SciFest 2016, with her project Hum your Way to Better Health. She is competing at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles this week.

Caolann Brady of St Wolstans Community School, Celbridge, pictured at SciFest 2016, with her project Hum your Way to Better Health. She is competing at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles this week.

 

A Leaving Certificate student from Co Kildare who has won a major award for her research on asthma is to represent Ireland at an international competition in Los Angeles this week.

SciFest national champion Caolann Brady, a pupil at St Wolstan’s Community School in Celbridge, is one of 1,700 students from 75 countries who will compete at Intel ISEF 2017.

ISEF is the largest international pre-college science competition, and entrants will be competing for a prize fund totalling $4 million.

Ms Brady secured her place when she won the top award at the SciFest 2016 national final last November. Her project focused on the natural treatment of asthma through humming and breathing techniques.

She was born with asthma and has suffered many asthma attacks which were treated by nebulisers. This sparked her interest in the area and led to her award-winning project, Hum Your Way to Better Health.

Research has shown that the ventilation of the paranasal sinuses (inhaling and exhaling) increases greatly when a person practises specifically defined humming techniques.

Improving lung function

Ms Brady set about exploring whether this was true by conducting a series of experiments with 175 participants. Her results indicated that prescribed humming technique improves lung function across a range of ages, genders and breathing capabilities by an average of 10 per cent.

“I am very excited to travel to California and to present my work to some of the top STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) professionals in the world,” she said. “I am also looking forward to meeting young people from all over the world and seeing the different projects they are working on.”

Sheila Porter of SciFest said the competition was all about “encouraging a love of science, technology, engineering and maths among young people and Caolann really embodies all of this”.

The SciFest programme is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Boston Scientific and Intel Ireland.