ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
CAREGIVING
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
Dementia Underestimated in Developing Countries
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
EYE CARE, VISION
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Swine Flu May Pose Problems for Pregnant Women
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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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