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Laughter: Still the Best Medicine

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Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 04:33 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The comedian Milton Berle described laughter as an “instant vacation.” Mark Twain called it man’s only really effective weapon. Abraham Lincoln said he would die without it. You can add to those plaudits the concept that laughter is good medicine, too.
 
Dr. Michael Miller of the University of Maryland School of Medicine led research into how laughter effects heart health. In one study, he tested the blood flow of healthy men and women while they watched movies. He found that:
 
• While they watched a graphic war movie, blood flow decreased an average of 35 percent
 
• While they viewed a comedy film, blood flow increased by 22 percent, and it stayed that way for 30 to 45 minutes.
 
Decreased blood flow is a stress reaction that affects the lining (endothelium) of blood vessels, which regulates the diameter of the arteries. Damage to the endothelium causes inflammation that leads to cholesterol buildup in blood vessels, and eventually heart disease.
 
Stress narrows the endothelium and makes it prone to inflammation, while laughter expands it, increasing blood flow, Miller showed. Other studies confirm that people with heart disease are 40 percent less likely to laugh as a healthy person of the same age.
 
So find ways to make laughter a part of your day:
 
• Watch comedy films and shows that feature funny videos
 
• Get together with people who like to laugh and have fun
 
• Look through old photos.
 
Laughter also relaxes muscles, lowers blood pressure, and boosts immunity. That’s plenty of good reason to give yourself an “instant vacation” every day.
 

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Dr-Crandall
The comedian Milton Berle described laughter as an “instant vacation.” Mark Twain called it man’s only really effective weapon. Abraham Lincoln said he would die without it.
heart, laughter, Milton Berle, hypertension, blood pressure
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2014-33-31
Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 04:33 PM
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