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Laugh your way to health

Laugh your way to health

Laughter can diminish pain, protect against heart attacks and help you live longer. It is also as effective as antipsychotic drugs in helping agitation in dementia patients.Hearty laughter is a great natural cure for many medical conditions, according to a series of new studies.

Pain thresholds are significantly higher after a good laugh, according to recent research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences.

Researchers  have also found that people who are able to handle life with humour are 40pc less likely to have a heart attack.

A study in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine examining more than 53,000 people over a period of seven years  found those with a sense of humour were more likely to reach their mid-70’s.

An study of the impact of humour therapy on mood, agitation, behavioural disturbances and social engagement in dementia patients recently found agitation levels dropped with the therapy.

The research at the School of Psychiatry in the University of New South Wales looked at patients in 36 residential care facilities for older people across Australia.

The SMILE study found a 20 per cent reduction in agitation using humour therapy which is comparable to the common use of anti-psychotic drugs.

“This shows humour therapy should be considered before medication for agitation, particularly taking into account its side effects,” says Dr Lee-Fay Low, a research fellow at the College.

In the SMILE study agitation decreased not only during the 12 week humour therapy programme, but remained lower at 26 week follow up.

Happiness and positive behaviours rose over the 12 weeks of the program, however, dropped as soon as humour practitioner visits ceased.

The SMILE Study findings  were presented at the National Dementia Research Forum 2011.

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