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Thursday 27th October 2016

Laughter the best medicine

4th April 2006

04042006_laughter.jpgA study of 20 healthy volunteers shows that laughter may be good for the heart.

20 healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to watch a 15 - 30 minute extract from a film that that provoked either mental stress (the start of Saving Private Ryan) or laughter (There's Something About Mary). Brachial aretery flow mediated vasodilation (FMD) was measured repeatedly.

Private Ryan reduced FMD by a mean of 35% and watching There's Something About Mary increased FMD by 22%.

The second figure is similar to the amount seen after aerobic activity or starting statins.  The first figure is similar to that induced by perfomring mental arithmetic.

The mechanism is unclear, but may relate to activiation of nitric oxide synthase or attenuation of neuroendocrine hormones.

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