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Humour proved to extend life

Researchers at NTNU and St. Olav’s Hospital in Norway have found the first evidence in history that proves that a sense of humour reduces mortality.

Now, the first evidence in history is published proving that a sense of humour increases the probability of survival when people are hit by severe diseases. The research report is published in the scientific journal The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine no. 3/2006.

The study was conducted by a research team at the Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and St. Olav’s University Hospital in Trondheim, and included specialized nurse Bjørn Kristoffersen, Chief Physician Knut Aasarød, and Professor Sven Svebak.

Observed kidney patients

In January in a particular year, all patients with chronic kidney failure in Sør-Trøndelag County were invited to participate in the study. The patients were very ill and had to receive dialysis at least once a week, some every day, to purify the blood for substances that the kidneys would normally filter out into the urine. Without the dialysis, they would die.

Approximately 80 per cent of these patients provided answers to questions regarding their age, gender, education, quality of life, and sense of humour.

Sense of humour essential

If the patient belonged to the half that scored relatively high on sense of humour, the risk of dying within two years was reduced by 30 per cent. The figures appeared after making considerations to aspects that could be caused by other health issues, the general quality of life, and other conditions.

No other patient characteristics could predict life or death within two years as strongly as the score for sense of humour.

Nina Tveter | alfa
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