ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Health Tip: After Liposuction
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
EYE CARE, VISION
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
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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