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Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

A Japanese study shows that diabetics can process sugar better if they laugh during the meal. Laughter has also been shown to help high blood pressure, stimulate the nervous system, heighten the immune system, release natural painkillers and make the heart stronger.

During the study, Dr. Keiko Hayashi measured the blood glucose levels of 19 diabetics and five non-diabetics before and after they ate the same meal, on two separate days. On one day, participants listened to a 40-minute lecture, which was "monotonous" and "without humorous content." On the second day, participants were part of an audience of 1,000 people who watched a Japanese comedy show. At the end of the show, "most" participants "considered that they laughed well," according to Hayashi.

He found that blood glucose levels after the meal were higher after participants heard the boring lecture than after they heard the comedy show, in both diabetics and non-diabetics. The reasons why laughter reduces blood glucose aren't clear, but Hayashi thinks laughter could increase energy consumption by working the abdominal muscles.

Hayashi says, "If positive emotion such as laughter reduced blood glucose, both patients and medical providers should recognize the importance of it?We should laugh more."

But the way our government works? That's no laughing matter!

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