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Breathing Race into the Machine – The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics - Minnesota Scholarship Online
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Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics

Lundy Braun


The spirometer is used routinely to diagnose respiratory disease in specialist and primary care settings, although most patients probably do not recognize the name of the device. An important feature of spirometry is that numerical values produced with the device are routinely “corrected” for race and sometimes ethnicity. The “correction” factors for race and/or ethnicity are embedded seamlessly in the software and hardware of the spirometer, such that operators are generally unaware of the details of the correction process activated when they use the machine. The basis of this practice dates ... More

Keywords: Race and ethnicity, Genomics and health, Spirometry, Physical education, Anthropometry, Work-related disability, Coal workers pneumoconiosis, Silicosis, Race correction

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780816683574
Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015 DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816683574.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lundy Braun, author