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 Post subject: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:26 pm 
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Posted from Music dept, Nebraska Wesleyan edu


Vocal health is closely related to good general health. If you get plenty of rest, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly, you will definitely have yourself on the right path. The body is the singer's instrument case so if it is not in optimum condition it is not as effective in protecting the voice. Doing simple things like regularly washing ones hands can help keep the body free of viral infections.

The absolute most important aspect of vocal health is drinking plenty of water. There is no such thing as TOO MUCH WATER so even if you start to feel like a beached whale continue to drink. People should consume between seven and nine eight ounce glasses of water a day in order to keep fully hydrated. Moisture is a necessary lubricant of the vocal folds in order to maintain elasticity. Carry as water bottle with you at all times because a feeling of thirst is the first sign of dehydration. When oneÕs body is dehydrated laryngeal lubrication diminishes and wears take place at much greater rates than normal. One might believe that if water is good, then any liquid should be just as beneficial but this is far from the truth. Beverages that contain caffeine, alcohol, and excessive sugar are actually bad for the voice, because they dry out the vocal folds. It takes more liquid to digest them and flush them from the system, thus leaving less for the body to store.

Smoking is very bad for the singer, both firsthand and second hand. A funny way to think of it would be to say "Smoking is like taking a cheese grater to your vocal apparatus, only slower" (Dr. John Messmer). The carcinogens debilitate the vocal tract as well as the lungs, the two most important physical features for singing. This is true when breathing any kind of polluted air so singers should avoid smoggy, polluted places.

Climate plays a surprising role in vocal health, because dry, artificial air can play a detrimental roll on the vocal chords. Laryngologists recommend a humidity level of 40-50%. Much body moisture is lost while breathing air in low humidity climates such as air-conditioned or heated room. Because of this, it is a good idea to run a warm air vaporizer to keep the air fully humidified. The warm air helps keep the air less germ infested, but even then, the machine needs to be cleaned regularly with vinegar or bleach depending on the apparatus.

Vocal abuse is any behavior or occurrence that strains or injures the vocal folds. This may include excessive talking, throat clearing, coughing, inhaling irritants, smoking, screaming, or yelling. Vocal misuse is improper voice usage such as speaking too loudly or at an abnormally high or low pitch. Frequent vocal abuse and misuse can damage the vocal folds and cause temporary or permanent changes in vocal function, voice quality, and possible loss of voice.

Due to the continual impact of vocal vibrations, excessive singing and speaking can create vocal fatigue and lead to abuse. When singing middle C for only one second, the vocal folds vibrate 260 times. This increases as the pitch elevates and dynamics increases. Even for a three-minute quiet conversation the folds continually collide, 30,000-40,000 times for women and 15,000-22,500 for men. Imagine if you continually hit yourself on the wrist that many times, wouldn't it start to hurt a bit? With millions of vocal fold collision throughout the day, it is no wonder the injury occurs.

There are many signs to watch for when looking for vocal fatigue or abuse. The throat may be tender to the touch after use. The voice is hoarse at the end of singing or is continuously hoarse for a few days. The throat is very dry with a noticeable "tickle" that is persistent. The singer is continuously licking his/her lips. There is an inability to produce notes from the highest part of ones range at pianissimo volume.

Treat your voice and body sensibly when you feel vocally run down. This necessitates the development of accurate perceptions by the singer of why the voice is tired. Accurate self-evaluation will lead one to therapeutic practices, which will return singers to vocal health in the shortest period of time. If these signs continue to be a problem despite proper hydration and practice procedures, it is important to seek professional help, because the problem would be more serious.

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:31 pm 
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Interesting sites with exercise techniques, tips, and tricks from other singers on the internet
http://www.grandi-tenori.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?t=406

Billy, not sure what your feelings are regarding holistic approaches and herbs for healing damaged nodules...here's one idea
http://www.hnmrc.net/pd1883681646.shtml?categoryId=46

DESCRIPTION  These are benign, small swellings situated on the apposing surfaces of the true cords, commonly at the junction of the anterior one-third and posterior two-thirds. They may be symmetrical. The swellings are made of keratin and result from constant banging together of the vocal cords due to vocal overuse - as in singing, teaching - or abuse - poor speed production.

Vocal abuse and misuse cause the vocal cords to close with excessive force (i.e. bang together). This may result in the formation of vocal nodules at the point of maximum contact. As the nodules begin to form, a slight reddening can be noted on the margin of the cord. This reddening is soon followed by a localized swelling or thickening on the edge of the cord. Finally, a definite nodule or bump develops and becomes harder and more fibrotic with time, just like a callous can form on your hand if you use a shovel without gloves.  

SYNONYMS  
Vocal cord disorders
Singer's nodes
Teacher's nodes

SYMPTOMS  
Hoarseness
Low-pitched voice
Breathy voice
Singers may notice a loss of vocal range.

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:43 pm 
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FOR:: OK What now
RE::  Vocal cord probs


Billy, I'm posting this in here, rather than PM'ing, or Emailing this to you because it might help someone else reading too... This stuff is pretty good to know for many who might also be doing some damage !

Article regarding someone who went to ENT with two small nodules...
Response:


It worries me that your ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist) said you had "two small nodules, or polyps." Nodules and polyps are two very different animals. If your ENT does not know the difference between these two diagnoses, he or she may not be recommending the best treatment for you.
Let's examine each diagnosis separately. Vocal nodules are also known as "screamer's nodules" or "singer's nodules." That should give you a fairly clear picture of what causes nodules: vocal abuse. In fact, most professional singers do not develop nodules because they have been taught how to use (and not abuse) their voice. Children, adults who often scream at their children and nonprofessional singers are much more likely to develop nodules.

Nodules do not respond to surgical treatment because the resulting scars are worse than the initial problem. Nodules do respond to speech therapy, however. Your allergies may be contributing to the problem, but it is more likely that you misuse your voice. Poor hydration (drinking too many caffeinated or alcoholic beverages and not enough water or juice) is another common contributing factor.


Vocal polyps are fleshy appendages that hang off the vocal cords like water bags. They are usually caused by chronic inflammation of the vocal cords. Once again, allergies or chronic sinusitis may contribute to the formation of vocal polyps, but more common culprits are cigarette smoke and chronic acid reflux. (Reflux occurs when stomach acids and digestive enzymes ascend the esophagus and spill over into the throat, often burning the vocal cords.) Unlike vocal nodules, polyps are best treated by surgical removal AND correction of the underlying problem (stop smoking, treat the reflux, etc.).

These conditions are best diagnosed by having an ENT examine your vocal cords using a fiber-optic viewing device called an endoscope. The doctor may also use a strobe light to illuminate the vocal cords because it shows them opening and closing in what looks like slow motion. Many ENT's are very good at examining the vocal cords using a small mirror placed in the back of the throat, but in my opinion this diagnosis is best made with the aid of fiber-optic scopes.

To learn more about these conditions, you might want to visit two websites, the Center for Voice Disorders and Voice Center. There's a great photo of vocal nodules right at the top of the Center for Voice Disorders homepage!

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:48 pm 
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Singers and Singing

Medicine in the Vocal Arts
Biomechanics of the Singing Voice
A Conversation with Natalie Costa
Bogart-Bacall Syndrome
The 10 Most Common Problems of Singers  <--very interesting page
Warming Up the Voice
Survival Tips for Choral Singers

http://www1.wfubmc.edu/voice/singers/

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:15 am 
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http://www.gbmc.org/voice/VOICE%20NODULES.WAV

This is what it sounds like when a person has a nodule.  



Vocal Fold Nodules                                      
Vocal fold nodules are the most common benign vocal fold lesions, and are sometimes referred to as "singers nodes." They are usually bilateral and occur at the junction of the anterior 1/3 and posterior 2/3 of the vocal folds.  They may vary significantly in size.  Nodules may be acute or chronic; chronic, or "mature" nodules are similar to calluses within the vocal fold tissue.  Vocal characteristics include hoarseness, breathiness, and lowered pitch.

Treatment
Voice therapy is often the first step in resolving nodules; teatment is usually 4 - 8 weeks. Results may vary depending on how long the nodules have been present and patient compliance with the therapy program.  Surgical removal may be appropriate in some cases.


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File comment: This is a picture of vocal nodules
vocal_nodules2.jpg
vocal_nodules2.jpg [ 24.29 KiB | Viewed 791 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 8:17 am 
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Polyps are FAR more serious... as they require surgical intervention.  A NODULE can become a POLYP if proper vocal hygiene and remediation is not practiced.

Vocal Fold Polyps
A vocal fold polyp is a fluid-filled lesion that may occur unilaterally or bilaterally. They may vary in size and will often be classified as either "sessile" (close to the tissue, like a blister) or pedunculated" (attached to a slim stalk).  They are most commonly thought to be caused by vocal abuse or trauma, cigarette smoking, or vocal fold hemorrhage, but the exact cause is unknown. Vocal characteristics often include hoarseness, breathiness, diplophonia (audible perception of two distinct pitches), and stridor (noisy breathing).

Treatment      
A vocal fold polyp usually does not respond to voice therapy; however, your physician may recommend voice therapy to clear the surgical field (reduce swelling and irritation).  Surgical removal will most likely be recommended.


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Pedunc1.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:20 am 
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Yep  Cindy,  I think Billy would be thrilled to find there's a means of vocal rehab..

This is why I posted this thread to begin with...


Quote:
well after practiceing for 2 wks singing like 8 hrs a day 7 days a wk,and me doing 95 % of the singing my throat was shot, i took a few days off and when my voice was better i returned to find out i no longer had valsetto, and to this day i don't have it...now if i get a really bad cold to where i almost lose my voice i can use it a tad, but its not very controlled at all, just certain notes...growing up my bro and i had valsetto while another bro. didn't and we would tease him and say just make ur voice pop...thats how we could tell when we were in valsetto....i can't do that anymore....i do sing totally wrong, straight from my throat, always have, guessing i always will, i have had nodes removed from my vocal cords from singing wrong, but this was long after i lost my falsetto..

it would honestly bring me to tears to have my falsetto back....i do feel because i did lose it that my reg. voice is much stronger, it had to be to make up for the range i lost.....but i always feel i'm only half singing, i hear so much i could do but i can't...

so if anyone finds my falsetto there is a huge reward....i'm talkin HUGEEEEEE...
hope someone has an idea.... ty u  


I decided that since many musicians (such as myself) have injured parts of their body, just goes with the territory....SInger's put themselves at risk too... So this would be a good topic all can benefit from

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:52 am 
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very interesting topic especially for those of us who sing...., well semi professionally.  i have a cetain menu of food and drink items the day a gig.  the first thing i do is hydrate like crazy for two days before the gig.  the day of the gig, plenty of rest is a MUST.  as well as staying away from dairy products.  i mainly try to each lots of fruits and vegetables the day of a gig.  salads with little to no dressing.  i've found that grapes of all things are really good at soothing a throat after a gig.  i'd like to see if anyone else has a dietary or other sort of routine they follow preceding and following a performance.  not to hijack a thread, steven, but i think the two go hand in hand.

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:06 am 
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Components of Preventive Voice Care
Healthy diet and lifestyle
Voice warm-ups
Voice training on proper technique to meet voice demands
Avoidance of voice overuse/misuse/abuse
Voice exercise to improve endurance and power

V-O-I-C-E: A Mnemonic for a Preventive Voice Care Model
V
Value your voice through healthy diet and lifestyle.

O
Optimize your voice with vocal warm-ups before use.

I
Invest in your voice with training in proper voice technique.

C
Cherish your voice by avoiding voice misuse, overuse, and abuse.

E
Exercise your voice to increase endurance and power.


Component 1: Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
Value Your Voice Through Healthy Diet and Lifestyle
Voice health follows overall health. Prevention of voice disorders requires individuals to value all aspects of their voice. Voice health follows the overall health of your body -- things that help you stay healthy in general also preserve the quality and function of your voice. Additionally, healthy living can enable improved recovery in the event of a voice disorder.

A healthy voice requires specialized care and maintenance of all parts of the voice system: posture, breathing, vocalizing, and projecting. As in physical fitness, vocal fitness is reflected in diet and lifestyle.

Towards a Healthy Diet for Voice
Each person's voice may react differently to any number of common foods and beverages. Individuals should be aware of their voice and determine whether any voice complaints are associated with a particular food or drink. (For example, some people report that drinking milk before speaking or singing causes an increase in phlegm or laryngeal mucous, making the voice unclear.) Then, people can avoid or reduce exposure to these foods or drinks when possible.

Certain types of food and beverages can complicate voice production.

Through increased risk of backflow of stomach fluids to the voice box: Chocolates, spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol can increase the stomach's production of stomach acid. This increases the risk of backflow of stomach fluids, which can cause reflux laryngitis. (For more information, see Reflux Laryngitis.)
Through effects on the nervous system: Caffeine and alcohol can contribute to decreased voice quality. Caffeine, for example, is a nervous system stimulant that can cause hyperactivity and tremor, both of which can affect the voice negatively. Alcohol is a nervous system depressant that can impair coordination of speech and voice. Additionally, excessive alcohol intake can impair judgment, resulting in unhealthy vocal production.
Through "drying-out" effects on the lining of vocal folds: Caffeine and alcohol have also been associated with the "drying out" of vocal folds, which can contribute to voice problems.
The Role of Water
Proper hydration is key to the optimal function of vocal folds. When the body is slightly dehydrated, the mucous made by the throat to lubricate the vocal folds becomes thicker. This thicker mucous can interfere with vocal fold vibration.

The nutritional recommendation is to drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Professional voice users and performing artists may require even more water. In fact, speaker's podiums or panelists' tables usually have glasses of water served. Individuals who have talked for several hours often feel "dry," and instinctively pick up a glass of water.


http://www.voiceproblem.org/diagnosistreatments/prevention/model.asp

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:19 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:22 am 
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Steve,  That's not threadjacking at all,  that is a big part of health as explained in the first post (and ALL content regarding singing health) for that matter ..


One thing I never understood is how front vocalists in touring bands, or people in Broadway shows, opera singers manage to last even one tour.. Given the life style, exposure to many other's in public and unhealthy venues....How can a singer perform with a bad head cold, or any respiratory infection for that matter ?  I suppose that's why they even mentioned the importance of handwashing.. I might be incorrect, yet I never heard of Pavoratti, or big vocalists cancelling a performance for nasal congestion...Yet this must happen all the time.. How can a singer perform with a cold ?



Quote:
i've found that grapes of all things are really good at soothing a throat after a gig.



Steve, Doesn't natural sugar create mucous too ?

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 10:39 am 
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most singers, myself included have this exact problem with headcolds and allergies.  nope, it's not possible to cancel shows usually unless it is VERY severe.  case in point, two years ago, brooks and dunn played the rodeo gala and poor ronnie brooks had a sinus infection that affected his range terribly.  he left the stage for one song.  when he came back his voice was clear and his range was most of the way intact.  i'd LOVE to know what he was given because i suffer tremendously from hayfever in the fall and cedar in the winter.  i am also prone to sinus infections probably due to the number of times i've had a deviated septum.  
http://www.entnet.org/healthinfo/sinus/deviated-septum.cfm
most times a singer has to grin and bear it, stay off the high end of their range and sometimes even change set lists due to health issues.    as for the grapes, don't konw the reason they help.  just know that they do.  and for the record, red seems to help more than green.  if you listen to my submission of Much Too Young by Garth Brooks, one of the first lines is "gotta ride in Denver tomorrow night".  you can clearly hear that i have trouble pronouncing "Denver" due ot sinusitus.  i've lived with it practically all my life, since being raised int the so-called allergy capitol of the world.  i guess i'm just use to it now.

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:23 am 
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This is about the best reading I come across on the subject in this forum.
need to save this thread when its done

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:11 pm 
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Just wanted to say I feel ya on that sinus stuff... I have asthma, every flippen allergy in the world, bronchitis two times yearly... I went in to have the ENT look at my cords to make sure there were no pulps or anything wrong there, and she said nope, it was all in my nose!  :?

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:17 pm 
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I'm asthmatic, have acute sinusitis, and people don't realize that for some with chronic allergies regardless of what season, taking a deep breath and regulating our breathing to a normal pattern is effort. Relaxed and deep breathing isn't something that comes naturally to many.. Breathing can become restricted from not only physical conditions, but chronic tension too...When we become very tense, there's often a tendency to become somewhat rigid, and that constricts breathing even more, the breathing becomes shallow... When it comes to trying to phrase singing, and project in order to get out've headvoice, to escape that nasaly quality, it takes breath control...  For those who get easily winded It's alot of work, and posture, and many other proper techniques must be developed...

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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:27 pm 
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Oh I totally agree, steve...
I was told that breathing should come naturally to me. But there's always something that I feel I'm not doing right. Like having too much tension, trying to make up for the high notes by "reaching" for them with my neck. Especially when I'm having bad asthma due to poor air quality...

Amanda Gray


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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:38 am 
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Now THIS is what I call a great helpful topic, lots of great info and links to help those interested follow up.  What a fantastic use of the Forum, one of the best I've seen.  Kudos to everyone :)


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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:49 am 
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Quote:
People should consume between seven and nine eight ounce glasses of water a day in order to keep fully hydrated.
Steven, I think that is a load of crap. I am 40 y/o, have never in my life had between seven and nine eight ounce glasses of water a day and I am still not dehydrated. All this so called advise/wisdom is over-rated and should be taken with a pinch of salt.


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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:05 am 
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Ahhhhhhh, I have to disagree a bit ShyGuy.  Steven didn't say dehydrated, he said FULLY HYDRATED--major difference.  There are several ongoing scientific studies that point to the fact lots of bodily discomforts may result from not being fully hydrated.  Singers especially should drink lots of fluids, especially water.  My two cents :)


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 Post subject: Re: Vocal Health
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:43 am 
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Catseyeview @ Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:05 am wrote:
Ahhhhhhh, I have to disagree a bit ShyGuy.  Steven didn't say dehydrated, he said FULLY HYDRATED--major difference.  There are several ongoing scientific studies that point to the fact lots of bodily discomforts may result from not being fully hydrated.  Singers especially should drink lots of fluids, especially water.  My two cents :)
LOL So you have me on a technicality. I blow my nose with "scientific studies", to be frank. What blows my mind is that people are actually being paid to conduct studies on so many stupid subjects. If they aren’t studying something useless, then they’re studying something obvious

:no: But, seeing that you are so adamant, here are some more useless "scientific studies" you can quote:

Acute Management of the Zipper Entrapped (@$%&#!). (published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine; 1990; vol. 8; pp. 305-307). This report describes a simple and safe procedure for freeing the skin of a (@$%&#!) caught in the teeth of a zipper. Any household containing at least one man (especially those who insist on "going commando") should keep a copy of this article in the medicine cabinet.

Transmission of Gonnorhea Through an Inflatable Doll. (published in Genitourin Medicine; 1993; vol. 9; p. 322). In this article, the authors discuss a case study of a sea captain who sneaked into one of his sailor's sleeping quarters and "borrowed" the sailor's blow-up doll. Shortly thereafter, the sea captain became afflicted with gonnorhea. Moral of the story? Don't be sneaky and mess around with your friend's girl (even if she's inflatable!).

Demonstration of the Exponential Decay Law Using Beer Froth. (published in The European Journal of Physics; Jan. 2002; vol. 23; pp. 21-26. This report shows that beer froth (including the beer froth generated by Budweiser beer) obeys the mathematical law of exponential decay. Try it out for yourself.


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