Loma Linda University recently unveiled results from a fresh study that show laughter may decrease the damage in brain caused by the stress hormone cortisol, which can gradually decrease memory. As a result, laughter can be the best medicine for age-related memory loss. The study group, headed by Dr. Gurinder Singh Bains, revealed their results at the Experimental Biology meeting in California’s San Diego.
People are aware that excessive stress can bring a negative effect on physical condition. Medical News Today published one study that found that stress might worsen allergies as well as another study that indicated that stress may also make the human brain more prone to mental health-related illnesses. Earlier studies have also revealed that stress may worsen the ability to learn as well as lead to the deterioration of memory in elderly people. The reason is that stress results in the production of cortisol, a hormone that may damage neurons in the brain.
It is known to many that laughter might ease stress, and the study team intended to find out if it can also decrease the amount of brain damage caused by cortisol. The researchers examined one elderly group of people who had diabetes and another elderly group of people who were in good health. The two groups were asked to watch a 20-minute funny videotape, and then undergo a memory test, which measured their visual recognition, memory recall and learning ability. A third group of elderly people underwent the memory assessment without having watched the funny videotape. The team then made a comparison between the findings of all these three groups. For every participant, cortisol levels were written down before and after the assessments.
The researchers found that the two groups who viewed the funny videotape showed a remarkable decrease in cortisol levels, compared to the group that did not see the videotape. The groups that viewed the humorous videotape also displayed more progress in learning ability, sight recognition and memory recall compared to those who did not see the video. The diabetic group displayed the most positive development in both memory test scores and cortisol levels.
Laughter could be the best medicine for age-related memory loss, as Dr. Lee Burk, a research team member, explains that these discoveries hint that the less stress a person has, the better their memory performs, and that having fun may be the means to reducing stress levels.
He said that the act of laughter or just enjoying some fun increases the release of dopamine and endorphins in the brain, which gives a sense of pleasure and reward. He further added that these neurochemical transformations in the brain also boost gamma wave band frequency, which may perk up memory.
According to the study findings, it turns out that laughter, is indeed, not only an excellent medicine, but also a memory booster adding to quality of life in body, spirit and mind. It suggests that although senior citizens have age-related memory shortfalls, humor treatments for this age group may help slow the progress.
Laughter can be the best medicine for age-related memory loss, but it’s not the only way to improve memory. Medical News Today recently published a report advising that green tea can perk up working memory, and another study from Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University showed that caffeine can increase long-term memory.
By Rahad Abir