ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
CANCER
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
DIABETES
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
Herb Shows Potential for Rheumatoid Arthriti
Functional Foods Uncovered
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
FITNESS
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Retail Clinics Attracting Those Without Regular Doctors
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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Laughter Can Boost Heart Health

FRIDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- New research lends weight to the old adage that laughter can be powerful medicine, particularly when it comes to your heart.

Two studies presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Seattle found that laughter not only can reduce stress, which can damage the heart, it can lead to improved blood flow, which can help ward off high blood pressure.

The first study included a small group of healthy adults who were asked to watch either a comedy or documentary film. They were then checked for activity of the carotid arteries -- the main arteries in the neck that bring blood to the brain and face -- during the films.

People who watched the comedy displayed improved "arterial compliance" -- the amount of blood that moves through the arteries at a given time. Decreased arterial compliance is often linked with high blood pressure and heart disease, according to an American College of Sports Medicine news release.

"Arterial compliance was improved for a full 24 hours after subjects watched a funny movie," said lead researcher Jun Sugawara. "Laughing is likely not the complete solution to a healthy heart, but it appears to contribute to positive effects."

The second study focused on vascular function and the dilation of blood vessels. When a second group of adults watched either a comedy or a serious documentary, there was more dilation of blood vessels during the comedy. Constricted blood vessels can be a cause of high blood pressure, the news release said.

"Not only did comedies improve vascular dilation, but watching a documentary about a depressing subject was actually harmful to the blood vessels," said Takashi Tarumi, lead researcher on the second study. "These documentaries constricted blood vessels by about 18 percent."

In both studies, the beneficial effects of laughter lasted for 24 hours, the researchers said.

The college's annual meeting concludes May 30.

SOURCES: May 29, 2009, news release, American College of Sports Medicine Published on: May 29, 2009