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Heart Watch Blog: Laugh, Laugh, Laugh To Prevent Heart Attack

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Jan 16, 2006

Laugh, Laugh, Laugh To Prevent Heart Attack

Laugh, Laugh, Laugh To Prevent Heart Attack
Why don't you watch some comedy film and boosts the flow of blood to the heart rather than watching a sad film that would decrease the flow of blood to the heart. This advice is not from me, but from researchers who had conducted a study in this regard.

This study comes from University of Maryland researchers, who got 20 young people to watch movie segments lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, taken from comedy films and serious films, with at least 48 hours between the two sessions.

With the help of ultrasound, these subjects were measured for blood flow through the brachial artery, which runs from the shoulder to the elbow.

Blood flow was reduced in 14 of the 20 volunteers when they watched extracts such as the distressful opening scenes to "Saving Private Ryan". But it rose in 19 out of 20 when they watched funny clips, such as scenes from "Something About Mary".

The difference between the two flows was more than 50 percent, according to the study, which appears on Tuesday in a British specialized journal heart.

Watching a sad movie has about the same effect on heart flow as doing mental arithmetic, it says.

But watching a comedy is equivalent to a bout of aerobic exercise or starting a course of cholesterol-busting statin drugs.

Depression, anxiety, hostility and anger are already known to impair nitric oxide pathways that help blood vessels to dilate.

The authors tentatively suggest that a chuckle may stimulate selected hormones to have the opposite effect.


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Heart disease
About 13 million Americans (about 7 percent of the total population) suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. About half of all deaths related to cardiovascular diseases occur from coronary artery disease. Through this heart watch blog we will have our humble contribution towards making men and women aware of the risks of heart diseases.

Heart Watch Blog: Laugh, Laugh, Laugh To Prevent Heart Attack

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