Sources Indicate Benefits of Laughter

By Kalani • November 15th, 2010

America Medical Journal and AATH
Ten minutes of laughter can result in a drop in blood pressure by as much as  10-20mm.

Duke University – Dr. Wei Jiang
In a study of over 1,000 heart patients, Dr. Jiang of Duke University discovered patients with mild depression had nearly twice the risk of death by heart failure than those with a more cheerful disposition.

Indiana State University
In a controlled study, one of two groups watched a travel film, while the other group watched a laughter video. After, the group that watched the laughter video produced significantly more killer T cells.

Journal of Psychosomatic Research – Hajime Kimata
Laughter caused by viewing a humorous DVD increased the levels of breast-milk melatonin in both mothers with atopic eczema (AE) and healthy mothers. In addition, allergic responses to latex and house dust mite (HDM) of infants were reduced by feeding with breast milk after laughter of mothers with AE or of healthy mothers. Laughter increased the levels of breast-milk melatonin in both mothers with AE and healthy mothers, and feeding infants with increased levels of melatonin-containing milk reduced allergic responses in infants. Thus, laughter of mothers may be helpful in the treatment of infants with AE.

Massachusetts General Hospital – Dr. Darin Doughan
In a study, chronic excess anger was linked to a higher risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Loma Linda University –Lee Berk and others
They found that mirthful laughter, as a preventive adjunct therapy in diabetes care, raised good cholesterol and lowered inflammation. The researchers will present their findings entitled Mirthful Laughter, As Adjunct Therapy in Diabetic Care, Increases HDL Cholesterol and Attenuates Inflammatory Cytokines and hs-CRP and Possible CVD Risk. In addition, the following laughter results have come from research at Loma Linda University.

  • increase levels of good hormones
  • reduced levels of stress hormones, through decreased levels of cortisol and adrenaline
  • improvement in the body’s immune system, possibly by increasing the body’s secretion of growth hormones
  • increased endorphins to fight pain and depression
  • increased beta endorphin blood levels, also known as the body’s morphine
  • effects lasts between 12 and 224 hours after the laughter event
  • increased blood flow because of the dilation of the endothelium (inner lining of the blood vessel.)
  • above effect could possibly reduce atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries
  • increased antibody levels especially NK cells (white blood cells), which are increased in number and activity
  • 2001 research took 48 heart patients and divided them into two groups. One group watched 30 minutes of comedy everyday, while the other group watched none. Only 2 of the first group had a recurrent heart attack, while 10 did in the second group.

According to Dr. Lee Berk, the study team’s lead researcher of Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, “Our findings lead us to believe that by seeking out positive experiences that make us laugh we can do a lot with our physiology to stay well.”

New England Journal of Medicine
Ten minutes of laughing can allow up to 2 hours of pain relief.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology & St. Olav’s University Hospital
In a study of patients with chronic kidney failure, patients answered questions regarding age, gender, education, quality of life and sense of humor. If the patient belonged to the half that scored relatively high on sense of humor, the risk of dying within two years was reduced by 30 percent. The figures appeared after making considerations to aspects that could be caused by other health issues, the general quality of life, and other conditions. No other patient characteristics could predict life or death within two years as strongly as the score on the sense of humor.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology – Sven Svebak
This study included 54,000 Norwegians studied over a seven year period. Some of the results are listed below.

  • adults who have a sense of humor live longer
  • in a study of a subgroup of 2015 people who had a cancer diagnosis, a great sense of humor cut chances of death by 70% as compared to people with a poor sense of humor
  • those diagnosed with a severe disease and a good sense of humor increased their survival rate by 35%

Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement
In a 20 year study, results showed that a more positive view was connected to an increased lifespan of 7.8 years.

Psychosomatic Medicine (Journal)
A study was done on 193 volunteers, who were asked to record their positive and negative emotions for two weeks. After this period, each was exposed to a cold or flu virus. A few results are listed below.

  • fewer positive thinkers became infected
  • positive thinkers who became infected had less pronounced symptoms
  • 28% positive thinkers developed symptoms compared to 41% of negative thinkers

University of Kentucky
In a longitudinal study of a group of nuns, the following was reported.

  • nine of the ten most positive 25% were still alive at age 85
  • one out of three of the least positive were still alive at age 85
  • a positive emotion correlated to a ten year increase in life span, which is greater than the difference between smokers and non-smokers

University of Maryland Medical Center – Dr. Michael Miller
The following laughter results have come from research at the University of Maryland.

  • decreases blood pressure
  • increases muscle flexion
  • improves overall performance of heart’s muscle function
  • possibly wards off heart disease
  • oxygenates your blood
  • relieves stress
  • increase blood flow through the expansion of the inner lining of arteries
  • patients with heart disease are 40% less likely to laugh versus those without heart disease
  • there was a 22% increase in blood flow after watching a comedy film
  • Dr. Miller is quoted as saying, “Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week and 15 minutes of laughter on a daily basis is good for the vascular system.”
  • Additional Dr. Miller quote. “Patients who suffered heart attacks or had heart surgery were 49% less likely than healthy people of the same age to see the humor in daily life. Laughter should be incorporated into daily activities just like other heart protective measures, such as exercise.”

Vanderbilt University – Maciej Buckowski
Ten to fifteen minutes of laughter burns approximately 50 calories.

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