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The Comfort of a Child's Breath

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The Comfort of a Child's Breath

The Comfort of a Child's Breath

The Comfort of a Child's Breath

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Listener and child lung doctor Mark Brown of Tucson, Ariz., marvels in the sound of normal breathing. He says his job has him listening for abnormal sounds, but since his own health has been bad, it's the normal that amazes him.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

The sound of children can bring pure delight - the sound of them playing, laughing, talking. And to that list, add another very good sound because today's SoundClip comes from inside a child.

(Soundbite of breath sounds))

Dr. MARK BROWN (Clinical Pediatrics, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix): My name is Mark Brown. And I've been a physician for 24 years. The last 20 years of that, I've been a lung specialist for children, a pediatric pulmonologist.

(Soundbite of breath sounds))

Dr. BROWN: For several millennia, breathing was the hallmark of the sign of life. People would watch bodies to see if they would breathe, put mirrors under noses, and things to tell whether or not somebody was alive. And it's only been recently that the heart has taken over as being a sign of life and then eventually the brain.

During my career, I've literally listened to thousands of children - listened to their lungs, their chest. And usually, I'm paying close attention for abnormal sounds.

(Soundbite of breath sounds))

Over the past year, I've had some health problems of my own that came to light ironically enough because of breathing problems and some abnormal breath sounds of my own. So now when I listen to a child's chest, I have a much greater appreciation for normal breath sounds, listening more intently than before to a sound that I previously dismissed as generally uninteresting.

(Soundbite of breath sounds)

SIEGEL: A SoundClip of a child's lungs from listener Mark Brown of Tucson.

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