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12/22/08

CARDIOLOGIST STUDIES SUGGEST FUNNY MOVIES FOR THE HEART MAY BE NO JOKE

CARDIOLOGIST STUDIES SUGGEST FUNNY MOVIES FOR THE HEART MAY BE NO JOKE


What Does Monty Python Have to do with the Heart?

A Video about Heart Health

I went to a cardiologist yesterday and he told me to go watch the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Monthy Python... Actually that didn't happen but it could have. Watching a funny movie could be good for your heart. "Laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says principal investigator Michael Miller, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center". Using laughter-provoking movies to gauge the effect of emotions on cardiovascular health, researchers at the school suggest that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels. The endothelium is the inner lining of the blood vessels. You may not know it but the blood vessels can dilate (become wider). One of the signs of good cardiovascular function is the flexibility of the blood vessels to dilate. Interestingly, drugs like Viagra improve the dilation qualities of blood vessels. That is how it was discovered when scientists were looking for new heart medicines. Too much dilation can cause low blood pressure and thus the warnings about these drugs in some people, but I digress.

Here is a video about the heart from the same doctor in the laughter and heart study Click the arrow



What is the Connection Between the Inner Lining of the Blood Vessels and the Heart?

“The endothelium is the first line in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, so, given the results of our study, it is conceivable that "laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says principal investigator Michael Miller, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine".

Anyway, "When the same group of study volunteers was shown a movie that produced mental stress,(in this case Saving Private Ryan) their blood vessel lining developed a potentially unhealthy response called vasoconstriction (blood vessels getting narrower, opposite of dilation), reducing blood flow... The study included a group of 20 non-smoking, healthy volunteers, equally divided between men and women, whose average age was 33. The participants had normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Each volunteer was shown part of two movies at the extreme ends of the emotional spectrum. They were randomized to first watch either a movie that would cause mental stress, such as the opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan” (DreamWorks, 1998), or a segment of a movie that would cause laughter, such as “King Pin” (MGM, 1996). A minimum of 48 hours later, they were shown a movie intended to produce the opposite emotional extreme... That finding confirms previous studies, which suggested there was a link between mental stress and the narrowing of blood vessels".



"The endothelium has a powerful effect on blood vessel tone and regulates blood flow, adjusts coagulation and blood thickening, and secretes chemicals and other substances in response to wounds, infections or irritation. It also plays an important role in the development of cardiovascular disease".

  • UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE STUDY SHOWS LAUGHTER HELPS BLOOD VESSELS FUNCTION BETTER