Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Engineering

Advisor(s)

Keith Holland

Erin Kamarunas

Callie Miller

Abstract

Chronic cough is most commonly defined as a cough that persists for more than eight weeks and is estimated to affect more than 30 million people in the United States at any given time. Diseases contributing to the onset of chronic cough include asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, postnasal drip, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and bronchitis, and may include lifestyle choices such as smoking. For those who seek medical advice, pharmaceuticals and speech therapy are two common methods of combating chronic cough but serve to mask the symptoms rather than treat the problem; frequently, chronic cough is misdiagnosed or cannot be treated. Chronic cough negatively impacts an affected individual’s quality of life and often makes sleeping, eating, working, and speaking difficult. New hypotheses suggest hypersensitivity of the airway is the root cause of chronic cough in a large number of individuals. Though patients may experience different symptoms provoked by certain irritating factors such as postnasal drip, and GERD, it is hypothesized hypersensitivity is the link between a large quantity of chronic cough cases. The purpose of this research project was to design a prototype based on the patent pending method developed by Dr. Christy Ludlow to further investigate the relationship between hypersensitivity and chronic cough. The device enables researchers to control and monitor varying levels of vibration stimulus applied to the tracheal region of the neck with the goal of suppressing the urge to cough in persons with idiopathic cough. Through multiple iterations of user-centered design, a non-invasive wearable prototype was created for the first round of participant testing to assess the feasibility of the technology. Further testing and refinement of the device will validate vibration stimulus treatment for coughing.

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