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Friday, December 26, 2008

Want to Live Longer? Start Laughing More By Roger Dobson

A study from the Foundation for Advancement of International Science, also in Japan, showed that laughter seems to lower levels of a protein involved in the progression of diabetic nephropathy, a kidney disease that occurs as a result of diabetes and which is the leading cause of kidney failure. Levels dropped substantially and immediately after watching a comedy show. "The beneficial effects of laughter on preventing the exacerbation of diabetic nephropathy are strongly suggested," say the researchers.

But one of the most important findings on the effects of laughter is its impact on inflammation, which plays a key role in a wide range of diseases, from arthritis to cancer, and which is a component of many age-related chronic diseases that often cause disability. Research reported in the Oxford University Press medical journal, Rheumatology, showed that blood levels of key inflammatory compounds dropped considerably after patients with rheumatoid arthritis watched a humorous film.

The researchers recorded amounts of what they call "mirthful laughter" and found that levels of interleukin 6, a cytokine that plays a central role in inflammation, dropped significantly in the arthritis patients, but not in a healthy comparison group. The anti-inflammatory effects have also been shown to last for 12 or more hours after the laughter has subsided....


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