ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
CANCER
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
CAREGIVING
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cleaning House May Be Risky for Women With Asthma
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Staying Slim Is Good for the Environment
EYE CARE, VISION
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Lower Vitamin D Levels in Blacks May Up Heart Risks
Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
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
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Fatty Fish May Cut Heart Failure Risk in Men
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Exercise Benefits Even the Oldest Old
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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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