Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Expecting a laugh boosts stress-busting hormones

07.11.2002


Study finds expectation of humor has a biological effect on body



Go ahead, laugh. In fact, look forward to the upcoming positive event. It does the body good.

Yes, even looking forward to a happy, funny event increases endorphins and other relaxation-inducing hormones as well as decreases other detrimental stress hormones, a UC Irvine College of Medicine-led study has found.


In previous studies, the scientists found that anticipating a funny video reduced feelings of stress. This study found that those feelings have biological underpinnings and may help researchers combat the harmful effects of stress. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Orlando, Florida.

Lee Berk, assistant professor of family medicine and a researcher at the Susan Samueli Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and his colleagues found that just anticipating a funny event reduced levels of stress-causing chemical messengers in the blood, and increased levels of chemicals known to reduce tension.

"Since chronic stress can suppress the immune system’s ability to fight disease, reducing the effects of stress can help the body resist infections and other disorders," Berk said. "This study shows that even knowing you will be involved in a positive humorous event days in advance reduces levels of stress hormones in the blood and increases levels of chemicals known to aid relaxation. This has profound implications for complementary treatment of disease and for maintaining a person’s wellness."

Berk and his colleagues tested 16 men at Loma Linda University. Half of them were informed three days in advance they would watch a humorous video. The men watching the video had a 39 percent decrease in cortisol, a 38 percent drop in dopac and a 70 percent drop in epinephrine, all of which are stress hormones. At the same time, endorphin levels rose 27 percent, and growth hormone levels rose 87 percent. Endorphins and growth hormones are known to reduce the effects of stress and benefit the immune system. These changes were not seen in the other eight men who were told they would not view the funny video.

The levels of stress-inducing hormones increasingly dropped (and for the stress-reducers, rose) at a progressively greater rate as the date of the humorous experiment approached.

Previously, Berk and his team found that anticipating a funny video changed the subjects’ mood states. In addition, Berk has shown that watching humorous videos decreased some stress hormones and increased the activity of specific white blood cells called natural killer cells that specialize in killing virally infected cells and tumor cells.

"The anticipation of a funny event changes mood states, which appears to trigger profound physiological changes in the body," Berk said. "These mood and body changes also lasted well after the actual event. Optimism and expectation or anticipation of positive experiences appear to help in recovery from illness, supporting the reality that there may be a biology to the concept of hope." Berk and his colleagues continue to look at the relationships between mood, behavior and prevention and effective treatment for a wide range of diseases.

Berk’s colleagues in the study include Dr. David Felten, executive director of the Susan Samueli Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and Dr. Stanley Tan of the Oakcrest Research Institute and James Westengard of Loma Linda University School of Medicine.


complete archive of press releases is available on the World Wide Web at www.today.uci.edu.


Andrew Porterfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.today.uci.edu
http://www.uci.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hepatitis: liver failure attributable to compromised blood supply
19.12.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New megalibrary approach proves useful for the rapid discovery of new materials

Northwestern discovery tool is thousands of times faster than conventional screening methods

Different eras of civilization are defined by the discovery of new materials, as new materials drive new capabilities. And yet, identifying the best material...

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists to give artificial intelligence human hearing

19.12.2018 | Information Technology

Newly discovered adolescent star seen undergoing 'growth spurt'

19.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

From a plant sugar to toxic hydrogen sulfide

19.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>