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Study: Laughing Can Improve Short-Term Memory In Seniors

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An elderly woman laughs. (credit: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

An elderly woman laughs. (credit: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

CBS Sacramento (con't)

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LOMA LINDA, Calif. (CBS Sacramento) – According to a recent study, laughing can improve short-term memories in seniors.

Counsel & Heal reports that researchers from the Loma Linda University analyzed data from 20 seniors. The seniors were all considered healthy and normal and were each asked to watch a 20-minute comedy video.

The researchers then took another group of 20 seniors but this group did not watch anything over the same stretch of time.

Both groups were then given memory tests. Each senior also provided saliva samples so the researchers could test for stress hormones.

The seniors from the group that watched the video scored better on the memory tests. They also had lower levels of cortisol, which is a hormone tied to stress, according to Counsel & Heal.

Researchers concluded that laughter reduced stress levels, blood pressure, and improved moods.

“Laughter triggers the body to release more endorphins, which send dopamine to the brain,” Dr. Lee Bark, associate professor from the university, and co-author of the study, explained to Counsel & Heal. “The brain ends up feeling more pleasure and rewards from the video clip, which can help improve the immune system’s functions and alter brain wave activity. The changes in the activity positively affect memory and recall.”

“Begin by laughing more daily,” Dr. Gurinder S. Bains, a Ph.D. candidate in Rehabilitation Sciences, added. “It will improve your quality of life.”

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