McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster pulmonologist takes prestigious lifetime award

Published: December 19, 2013
 Michael T. Newhouse
Dr. Michael T. Newhouse, professor emeritus, Department of Medicine

Dr. Michael T. Newhouse was a young respirology resident in the early '60s in Montreal when he used the new and practical fluidic ventilator, invented by American Dr. Forrest Bird, which was bringing a dramatic improvement in pulmonary care for assisted ventilation.

Newhouse went on to join McMaster University in 1964 at the beginning of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and to found St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton's pulmonary division and what has become the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health.

His research group was the first to use gamma scintigraphy and isotopes produced by the research nuclear reactor at McMaster for evaluating lung function.

Among other discoveries, his research helped lead to the widespread use and improved understanding of inhaled aerosol medications for treating various lung diseases. He helped develop devises which made it possible to simplify and reduce the cost of aerosol therapy in children and patients on ventilators. These devices are now in use in over 100 countries worldwide.

Newhouse recently met Forrest for the first time in California when Bird, now 95, attended the presentation  to Newhouse of the top career award of the American Respiratory Care Foundation, the Forrest M. Bird Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award.

"I was delighted and honoured to receive this recognition of my many decades of pulmonary research," said Newhouse, a professor emeritus of medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. "It's particularly a credit to my team of world-class colleagues and the collaborative, innovative culture fostered by McMaster University."

His research focus has included groundbreaking studies on the effect of air pollutants and exercise on lung function and on mucus clearance from the airways, on aerosol deposition and clearance in health and diseases such as cystic fibrosis, COPD and asthma.

In recent years, he has worked with a colleague in Israel on improving the treatment of children, most significantly on development of the "SootherMask™" for aerosol therapy in sleeping infants, using their own pacifier incorporated into the mask to calm the child.

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