Hearty laughter could help diabetics improve their cholesterol levels and possibly lower their risk of heart attack, according to a recent study by Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University, California.
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 cholesterol. After 12 months the researchers evaluated both groups by 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.
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."
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