Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fight memory loss with a smile (or chuckle)

Date:
April 27, 2014
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Summary:
The stress hormone cortisol can negatively affect memory and learning ability in the elderly. Researchers found that showing a 20-minute funny video to healthy seniors and seniors with diabetes helped them score better on memory tests and significantly reduced their cortisol levels when compared to non-video watchers.

Too much stress can take its toll on the body, mood, and mind. As we age it can contribute to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Recent research has shown that the stress hormone cortisol damages certain neurons in the brain and can negatively affect memory and learning ability in the elderly. Researchers at Loma Linda University have delved deeper into cortisol's relationship to memory and whether humor and laughter -- a well-known stress reliever -- can help lessen the damage that cortisol can cause.

Related Articles


Their findings were presented on Sunday, April 27, at the Experimental Biology meeting.

Gurinder Singh Bains et al. showed a 20-minute laugh-inducing funny video to a group of healthy elderly individuals and a group of elderly people with diabetes. The groups where then asked to complete a memory assessment that measured their learning, recall, and sight recognition. Their performance was compared to a control group of elderly people who also completed the memory assessment, but were not shown a funny video. Cortisol concentrations for both groups were also recorded at the beginning and end of the experiment.

The research team found a significant decrease in cortisol concentrations among both groups who watched the video. Video-watchers also showed greater improvement in all areas of the memory assessment when compared to controls, with the diabetic group seeing the most dramatic benefit in cortisol level changes and the healthy elderly seeing the most significant changes in memory test scores.

"Our research findings offer potential clinical and rehabilitative benefits that can be applied to wellness programs for the elderly," Dr. Bains said. "The cognitive components -- learning ability and delayed recall -- become more challenging as we age and are essential to older adults for an improved quality of life: mind, body, and spirit. Although older adults have age-related memory deficits, complimentary, enjoyable, and beneficial humor therapies need to be implemented for these individuals."

Study co-author and long-time psychoneuroimmunology humor researcher, Dr. Lee Berk, added, "It's simple, the less stress you have the better your memory. Humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decrease memory hippocampal neurons, lowers your blood pressure, and increases blood flow and your mood state. The act of laughter -- or simply enjoying some humor -- increases the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which provides a sense of pleasure and reward. These positive and beneficial neurochemical changes, in turn, make the immune system function better. There are even changes in brain wave activity towards what's called the "gamma wave band frequency," which also amp up memory and recall. So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer adding to our quality of life."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "Fight memory loss with a smile (or chuckle)." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140427185149.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). (2014, April 27). Fight memory loss with a smile (or chuckle). ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140427185149.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "Fight memory loss with a smile (or chuckle)." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140427185149.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

AFP (Dec. 12, 2014) As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, so too does the Father Christmas conspiracy. But psychologists say that telling our children about Santa, flying reindeer and elves is good for their imaginations. Duration: 01:57 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