Bellyful of mirth reduces risk of heart attacks

April 17th, 2009 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 17 (IANS) If you are a cardiac patient, a bellyful of mirth is what your doctor might prescribe for you to reduce your risk of heart attacks.
Medical researcher Lee Berk and his colleagues discovered that the anticipation of “mirthful laughter” had surprising and significant effects.

Two hormones - beta-endorphins (the family of chemicals that elevates mood) and human growth hormone (HGH: which helps with optimizing immunity) - increased by 27 percent and 87 percent, respectively, in subjects who anticipated watching a humorous video.

There was no such increase among the control group who did not anticipate watching the humorous film. In another study, researchers found that the same anticipation of mirthful laughter reduced the levels of three detrimental stress hormones.

Lee Berk, a preventive care specialist, has paired with Stanley Tan, endocrinologist and diabetes specialist, to examine the effects of “mirthful laughter” on individuals with diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic syndrome characterized by the risk of heart attack, blindness and other neurological, immune and blood vessel complications.

They found that mirthful laughter, as a preventive adjunct therapy in diabetes care, raised good cholesterol and lowered inflammation, said a Loma Linda release.

The researchers will present their findings at the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society April 18-22.

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