March 8, 2005


Laughing helps arteries and boosts blood flow (Andy Coghlan, 07 March 2005,

Laughing appears to be almost as beneficial as a workout in boosting the health of blood vessels, a new study suggests.

"Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week and 15 minutes of hearty laughter each day should be part of a healthy lifestyle," says Michael Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, US, whose team has shown that laughter relaxes arteries and boosts blood flow.

He showed clips from the comedy movieKing Pin to 20 volunteers. Before and afterwards, he made ultrasound measurements of blood flow and dilation in the brachial artery in the arm. The scans showed that in all but one of the volunteers, the volunteers' arteries relaxed and blood flowed more freely than usual for 30 to 45 minutes after the film.

The opposite happened when the same people watched harrowing scenes from the war movie Saving Private Ryan. In 14 of the 20 volunteers, the artery wall constricted, reducing blood flow. Overall, blood flow decreased by 35% after the stressful clips and increased by 22% during laughter.

The results suggest that laughter could help keep the lining of the arteries - the endothelium - healthy and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. "At the very least, laughter offsets the impact of mental stress, which is harmful to the endothelium," Miller says.

Especially good news for conservatives, for whom life is a comedy. Too bad for liberals, for whom life is a tragedy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2005 10:51 AM

Does laughing at the nonsense that passes for Liberal ideology count?

Posted by: Moe from NC at March 8, 2005 12:06 PM

So to extrapolate, if I watch "Airplane" every day I never have to get off the couch?

Posted by: Rick T. at March 8, 2005 3:23 PM

Moe: yes. Limbaugh once pondered on the air the question of his success. He decided it was because the Liberals produced so much material for him.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 8, 2005 3:37 PM

I have never been convinced by OJ's theory of conservatism and humor. Humor, as Aristotle would put it, is based on defect. We laugh at what's wrong.

OJ's assertion is that since conservatism accepts man's fallen nature, it is more accepting of defect and thus humor, while utopian liberals cannot accept this and thus have no sense of humor.

Yet it seems to me that conservatives very often deny any defect in their traditions, while liberals - prone to wanting to improve the world - can easily point out where its defects currently are. So is all humor liberal?

By the way, I am still waiting for my Ike biography to be mailed to me.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 8, 2005 6:00 PM