ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Healthy Behaviors Slow Functional Decline After Cancer
CAREGIVING
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
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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