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STUDY: Laughter Helps Short-Term Memory

You may have heard about the health benefits of laughter, and now you can add one more positive effect to the list.

Laughter helps your memory.   

New research suggests that humor can improve short-term memory in older adults.

In a recent small study conducted at Loma Linda University in Southern California, 20 normal, healthy, older adults watched a funny video distraction-free for 20 minutes, while a control group sat calmly with no video.

Afterward, they performed memory tests and had saliva samples analyzed for stress hormones.

You guessed it; those who got to laugh the 20 minutes away with the funny video scored better on short-term memory tests, researchers said.

And salivary levels of the stress hormone cortisol -- a memory enemy of sorts -- were significantly decreased in the humor group. The less stress you have, researchers said, the better your memory.

It works like this: humor reduces stress hormones, lowers your blood pressure, and increases your mood state, according to Dr. Lee Berk, a co-author of the study and associate professor of Allied Heath.

Heard any good jokes lately?

 

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