A NEW study has found that the lung health of Scots cystic fibrosis sufferers drastically improved after singing lessons.

Scottish Opera has been working with patients from the respiratory ward at Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow to explore whether classical techniques, including breath control and vocal exercises, could replicate the effects of conventional physiotherapy.

After 12 weeks, the FEV1 - the maximum amount of air that can be forced out in one second and a general indicator of health - rose by up to 13% in patients.

Respiratory experts at the hospital said "the best drug" costing more than £100,000 might expect to give a 10% increase. Although the team was unable to record conclusive findings because just 14 patients took part, doctors are keen to launch a bigger study.

Adults with cystic fibrosis must carry out daily physiotherapy, which helps prevent thick, sticky mucus in the lungs from blocking the airways. The exercises can also reduce infection and prevent lung damage.

Participant Yvonne Hughes, 40, from Glasgow, said: "Throughout the study I didn't require additional interventions such as antibiotics. Being taught to sing by a soprano from Scottish Opera was an uplifting experience."