A memory aid for seniors: Laughter - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

A memory aid for seniors: Laughter

Polka Dot / Thinkstock Polka Dot / Thinkstock
  • SPONSORED BY SOUTHEAST HEALTHMore>>

  • New technology connects babies and families with webcams

    New technology connects babies and families with webcams

    New technology connects babies and families with webcams

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:45 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:45:11 GMT
    The Heartland is now home to the newest cutting edge technology for moms and babies facing long hospitals stays when the little ones need special intensive care.
    The Heartland is now home to the newest cutting edge technology for moms and babies facing long hospitals stays when the little ones need special intensive care. 
  • Quinn signs epinephrine law for Illinois schools

    Quinn signs epinephrine law for Illinois schools

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:36 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:36:36 GMT
    A new bill signed into Illinois law says trained personnel at schools statewide will be able to administer injectable epinephrine for those appearing to have strong allergic reactions.
    A new bill signed into Illinois law says trained personnel at schools statewide will be able to administer injectable epinephrine for those appearing to have strong allergic reactions.
  • Illinois Medicaid restricts use of hepatitis drug

    Illinois Medicaid restricts use of hepatitis drug

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 2:41 PM EDT2014-07-30 18:41:49 GMT
    Illinois is placing tight restrictions on a new hepatitis C drug that costs $1,000 per pill. Medicaid patients must meet 25 criteria and get prior approval before the government health care program will pay for...
    Illinois is placing tight restrictions on a new hepatitis C drug that costs $1,000 per pill. Medicaid patients must meet 25 criteria and get prior approval before the government health care program will pay for Sovaldi.

SUNDAY, April 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Humor and laughter may help combat memory loss in the elderly, a new study suggests.

Previous research has found that the stress hormone cortisol can harm memory and learning ability in older adults. This new study examined whether mirth might reduce the damage caused by cortisol.

Researchers showed a 20-minute humorous video to a group of healthy seniors and a group of seniors with diabetes. These groups were compared with a group of seniors who didn't see the video.

The two groups that watched the funny video showed significant decreases in cortisol levels and greater improvements on memory tests, compared to the group that didn't see the video. The diabetes group showed the largest decrease in cortisol levels, while the healthy group had the greatest improvement on memory tests.

The study was to be presented Sunday at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

"It's simple, the less stress you have, the better your memory," one of the study's authors, Lee Berk, said in a Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology news release. "Humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decreases memory [brain cells], lowers your blood pressure and increases blood flow and your mood state. The act of laughter -- or simply enjoying some humor -- increases the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which provides a sense of pleasure and reward.

"These positive and beneficial neurochemical changes, in turn, make the immune system function better," Berk added. "There are even changes in brain wave activity towards what's called the 'gamma wave band frequency', which also amp up memory and recall. So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer adding to our quality of life."

The findings could be used in designing wellness programs for the elderly, according to study author Dr. Gurinder Singh Bains. Berk and Bains are both from Loma Linda University in Calif.

The study did not prove that humor offsets memory loss, it only found an association between the two.

More information

The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation explains how to keep mentally fit as you age.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.