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What In Zeus?! Is Laughter Really The Best Medicine?

What In Zeus?! Is Laughter Really The Best Medicine?

Hello all and welcome once again to What In Zeus?! It is finally time to take a look at the world around us and separate the truth from the FILTHY. FILTHY lies! On today's agenda, is laughter really the best medicine?

This is something people say ALL the time, and quite frankly, we hope it's true. Then all of our joke 'em ups would be improving your health as well as your mood and what a wonderful world that would be! Before we find out whether laughter is the BEST medicine, let's find out whether it's medicine at all.

Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can increase your intake of oxygen, stimulate organs like your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increase pleasurable endorphin release in the brain. But we're not even endorphin-ished yet (you're welcome for that healing belly laugh we just gave you)!

A study conducted at California's Loma Linda University tried to find out if there was a connection between laughter and memory. Laughter prevents the release of cortisol, a stress hormone, and cortisol can damage the hippocampus, which helps control learning and memory. Therefore, the researchers hypothesized that laughter could lead to increased memory ability. They had one group of research subjects take a memory test, then watch twenty minutes of either America's Funniest Home Videos or Red Skelton routines. Afterwards, they took the test again. There was also a control group that sat silently for twenty minutes in between memory tests.

The results? The group that watched comedy in between the tests had a higher improvement rate! But what else can a HEARTy laugh do? Well prevent heart disease, for one! A study at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that people who laugh less are at a higher risk of heart disease. To that end, here are some nutritional supplements we wrote for you:

 

Q: What's an investment banker's favorite birthday present?

A: Sock options!

 

Q: How do bovines answer math problems?

A: With a cow-culator!

 

Q: What do pachyderms wear on their legs?

A: Ele-pants!

 

Okay, now that you've gotten your medicine, let's talk about other ways your emotions and the like can impact your health. Dr. Steve Cole has been studying the effects of emotional states on physical health at the University of California, and his team has found out some interesting stuff!

For one, they found out that lonelier people are at a higher risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and a bunch of other scary things. So maybe call up your buds and go bowling! Or you know, an activity that isn't terrible. JK bowling is great (JK JK it's terrible and the shoes they make you wear are gross (triple JK, bowling you're alright with us!)).

Studies have also found that depression can increase your risk of heart disease and increase the fatality of heart attacks. So that's just another reason to get help if you're feeling seriously depressed. It's always better to tell someone about it!

So in conclusion, is laughter the best medicine? Well, penicillin probably has a slightly better confirmed track record, but we'll say laughter deserves a relatively high spot!

What would you like to see us address on the next What in Zeus?! Tell us in the comments!

Tags: science, clowns, laughter, medicine, what in zeus

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About the Author
Andrew Tavin

Andrew Tavin is a writer and stand-up comedian living in New York City. His work has been featured on Upworthy and Collegehumor. He writes pretty mediocre bios and can be followed on Twitter @andrewtavin.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.