Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics

Those who chuckled daily had better 'good' cholesterol than those who didn't, study shows.
By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter


FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Setting aside time each day for some good, hearty laughter could help diabetics improve their cholesterol levels and possibly lower their risk of heart attack, researchers report.

"Laughter may indeed be a good medicine," said study author Lee Berk, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunologist at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, Calif. "Laughter may be as valuable as the diabetes medicines you are taking."

Berk is slated to present his findings at the American Physiological Society annual meeting in New Orleans.

Berk and his colleague, Dr. Stanley Tan, an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Oak Crest Health Research Institute in Loma Linda, assigned 20 adults with type 2 diabetes, average age 50, to a control group or the laughter group.

All had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both groups were taking standard diabetes medications, high blood pressure medicines and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

The laughter group was instructed to view "self-selected" humor for at least 30 minutes every day. Self-selected humor, Berk said, was "that which they found humorous or funny for themselves." That usually meant watching sitcoms or funny movies.

The laughter group members got into it, he said, and were faithful to the minimum exposure to humor time of 30 minutes daily. "Once they got into it, they really liked it," he said.

After 12 months, the researchers evaluated both groups by such tests as measuring cholesterol levels and levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation thought to be associated with heart disease.

The laughter group had an increase in "good" HDL cholesterol of 26 percent, compared to just a 3 percent increase in the good cholesterol of the control group, Berk said. Harmful C-reactive proteins declined by 66 percent in the laughter group but just 26 percent for the control group. Both differences were statistically significant, Berk noted.

What's the secret? Put very simply, Berk said, "you are decreasing the bad chemicals in the body with laughter and increasing the good chemicals, which help you stay well, may prevent disease and may well have [additional] value relative to the therapies you are taking."

The findings came as no surprise to Theresa Garnero, a nurse and diabetes educator at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, who has long employed humor in helping her patients deal with diabetes. She also has woven information about the use of humor into the books she has written on the topic.

A growing body of evidence finds value in humor when dealing with diabetes, Garnero said. She cites another study in which laughter helped to lower the increase in blood glucose that occurs after meals. Laughter, she said, "can help put things in perspective, light the fire of self-care management -- this is a self-care disease -- and help people maintain their stride."

"There is so much minutia involved in this disease," Garnero said, referring to the detailed instructions those with diabetes get from their doctor and diabetes educator to maintain a healthy diet, watch their blood sugar, and be on the alert for any symptoms of complications of the disease. "By adding a little humor, they can maintain perspective over the long haul," she said.

Sue McLaughlin, president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association, said, "It is encouraging to know that something like laughter, which is cost-free and can be shared and promoted by many, has beneficial effects on the well-being of a chronic disease that affects 24 million Americans."

Reduction in heart disease risk is especially valuable, she said. "People with diabetes are at a two- to fourfold increased risk for cardiovascular disease, compared to their non-diabetic counterparts."

Have a laughter attack, not a heart attack

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ignorance Is Bliss


Sometimes it's what you don't know that will get you what you want. Take the case of Cliff Young, once an Australian potato farmer. Cliff liked to run and no one else around him did so, when he heard about a six day, 600 mile ultra-marathon scheduled in Sydney, Cliff, 61 years old at the time thought, this was a chance to run with others who like to run.

When Cliff showed up for the start of the race in overalls and leather work boots the 'real' competitors laughed. Have you ever ran a marathon old man? Cliff had not run a marathon but he had chased his farm animals for days on end and as he figured it he must have chased a whole lot of miles.

Here's what Cliff did not know about the race: you were supposed to run 18 hours per day and then sleep. So, Cliff just kept running and running. He ran continuously for 5 days straight and when he reached the finish line first, he broke the record by 12 hours! What Cliff didn't know is what won him the race. He did not even know there was a $100,000 first-place price. When the organizers handed him the booty he divided it up and gave his winnings to the other runners.

If you believe it to be true than it's true. If you believe you're a success than you are successful. What you don't know might just help you get to your finish line. The smartest characters in Shakespeare's plays were the fools.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dr. Oz Says, Laughter is The Best Medicine


Know-it-All, Dr. Oz of the Oprah Kingdom confirms that "laughter is the best medicine after speaking with comic Steve Rizzo and humorist Kurt Kilpatrick.

Steve Rizzo, author of Becoming a Humor Being said, "People need to know that there is a difference between laughing at something that's very serious and laughing off the fear that represents it," Steve says. "If you can allow yourself to laugh off the fear, and anything that might be bothering you, you're going to beat it."

That's been my experience as well. And although Steve says that "Everyone has a 'humor being,' everyone on this planet," he says. "Your humor being is of your higher self—it's the part of you that brings out the best in you when times get really tough," you don't need a sense of humor to laugh. It may help but it is not required.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sad Spouses use Humor, Laughter, & Happiness


Humor, laughter, and happiness in the daily lives of recently bereaved spouses.
Lund DA, Utz R, Caserta MS, De Vries B.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City


The positive psychology movement has created more interest in examining the potential value of experiencing positive emotions (e.g., humor, laughter, and happiness) during the course of bereavement. This study of 292 recently widowed (5-24 weeks) men (39%) and women (61%) age 50 and over examined both the perceived importance of and actual experience of having positive emotions in their daily lives and how they might impact bereavement adjustments. We found that most of the bereaved spouses rated
humor and happiness as being very important in their daily lives and that they were also experiencing these emotions at higher levels than expected. Experiencing humor, laughter, and happiness was strongly associated with favorable bereavement adjustments (lower grief and depression) regardless of the extent to which the bereaved person valued having these positive emotions.

Once again, laughter proves to be the best medicine.

Yours in giggles and laughter,

Bruce

Article plumbed from: www.pubmed.gov

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Laugh For No Reason?

Absolutely! You don't need a reason to laugh. Your brain can't tell the difference between 'fake' and 'real' laughter. If laughter is the "best medicine" and I believe it is, along with scientist, researcher and thousands of people who practice laughing for no reason, than why not start laughing for no reason right now?

Laughter Yoga combines playful, empowering and tension-releasing laughter with with simple yogic breathing exercises. You don't need a sense of humor, jokes or comedy to laugh using Laughter Yoga. As an exercise, Laughter Yoga is used as a tool to relax, energize and to become more confident and positive. Because laughter is contagious simulated laughter turns into 'real' laughter and in-turn joyful. The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between 'fake' and real laughter. You will experience the same physiological and psychological benefits.

Laughter Yoga has many benefits beside the joy of laughter. It strengthens the immune system, combats negative effects of stress, and is a powerful antidote to depression and anxiety. It alleviates high blood pressure and asthma and increases tolerance to pain. In addition, it improves sense of humor, self confidence and communications skills. Laugh as a way to improve health, increase well- being, and promote more peace, tranquility and understanding in the world.

Want to start stressing-less, enjoying more, get healthier and increase your level of happiness? Come laugh with me for no reason. I offer a variety of Laughter Yoga Workshops for the work-place, schools, colleges and private organizations.

Three-Legged Horses

And you thought you had troubles?

Meet Molly the wonder horse with a prosthetic leg. Seems Molly was abandoned during the Katrina crisis and was attacked by a pit bull. The rest of the story is simply amazing.

The Louisiana School Of Veterinary
Medicine performed the surgery and now Molly takes her incredible story of personal triumph on the road at institutional show and tells inspiring everyone she meets.

I never quite understood why horses were "put down" and now here's another good reason why we should take another look at this practice.