Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Laughter has positive impact on vascular function

Date:
August 29, 2011
Source:
European Society of Cardiology (ESC)
Summary:
Watching a funny movie or sitcom that produces laughter has a positive effect on vascular function and is opposite to that observed after watching a movie that causes mental stress.

Watching a funny movie or sitcom that produces laughter has a positive effect on vascular function and is opposite to that observed after watching a movie that causes mental stress according to research conducted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

Related Articles


"The idea to study positive emotions, such as laughter came about after studies had shown that mental stress caused blood vessels to constrict," says Dr. Michael Miller, Professor of Medicine and lead investigator.

In their initial study more than 10 years ago, 300 men and women with or without heart disease completed a questionnaire related to situational-humor. For example, if you went to a party and saw someone wearing the same clothes as you, on a scale of 1 to 5 (ranging from not funny at all to very funny) how would you respond? The volunteers with heart disease were 40% less likely to find these situations funny. Even though this study was unable to prove whether a humorous response to situations in daily life may protect against heart disease, (or the lack of such a response is more common after a heart attack), it led to the next series of studies testing whether laughter may directly affect vessel function.

In this manner, volunteers watched segments of a funny movie, such as "There's something about Mary" on one day and on another day watched the opening segment of the stressful movie "Saving Private Ryan." Each volunteer served as his or her own control.

When study volunteers watched the stressful movie, their blood vessel lining developed a potentially unhealthy response called vasoconstriction, reducing blood flow. This finding confirms previous studies, which suggested there was a link between mental stress and the narrowing of blood vessels. However, after watching the funny movie, the blood vessel lining expanded.

Overall, more than 300 measurements were made with a 30-50% difference in blood vessel diameter between the laughter (blood vessel expansion) and mental stress (blood vessel constriction) phases. "The magnitude of change we saw in the endothelium after laughing was consistent and similar to the benefit we might see with aerobic exercise or statin use" says Dr. Miller.

The endothelium has a powerful effect on blood vessel tone and regulates blood flow, adjusts coagulation and blood thickening, and produces chemicals in response to injury and inflammation. It also plays an important role in the development of cardiovascular disease.

"The endothelium is the first line in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, so it is very possible that laughing on a regular basis may be useful to incorporate as part of an overall healthy lifestyle to prevent heart disease. In other words, eat your veggies, exercise and get a good belly laugh every day" says Dr. Miller.

Although the results of the brachial artery blood flow measurements appear to make a connection between laughter and vascular health, more studies are needed. "What we really need is a randomized clinical trial to determine whether positive emotions reduce cardiovascular events above and beyond today's standard of care therapies," concluded Dr. Miller.

This research was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris August 28, 2011.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "Laughter has positive impact on vascular function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828101806.htm>.
European Society of Cardiology (ESC). (2011, August 29). Laughter has positive impact on vascular function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828101806.htm
European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "Laughter has positive impact on vascular function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110828101806.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) — Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins