Too much stress can take its toll on the body, mood, and mind. As we age it can contribute to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Recent research has shown that the stress hormone cortisol damages certain neurons in the brain and can negatively affect memory and learning ability in the elderly. Researchers at Loma Linda University have delved deeper into cortisol’s relationship to memory and whether humor and laughter – a well-known stress reliever – can help lessen the damage that cortisol can cause.
The researchers found that showing a 20-minute funny video to healthy seniors and seniors with diabetes helped them score better on memory tests and significantly reduced their cortisol levels when compared to non-video watchers.
Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). “Fight memory loss with a smile (or chuckle).” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2014.