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Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine," and contemporary research seems to underscore this truth.

"Bob Hope made it to his 100th birthday, and so did George Burns. Coincidence? Maybe not, says Michael Irwin of UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and former adviser for the federally funded National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. "Laughter releases endorphins—those 'feel good' hormones suspected of boosting immunity—and that might make you more resistant to disease."

"At the very least," Irwin adds, "laughter reduces stress hormones, which we know have a bad effect on immunity."

"If you're the strong, silent type, a good belly laugh now and then may be especially important. Doctors used to think hard-charging Type As were at heightened risk for heart disease, but we've moved on from that…" says David Katz, a preventive medicine specialist at Yale School of Public Health. "We know now it's having a so-called Type D personality—someone who bottles up emotions—that really causes an increased risk of heart disease and possibly cancer," Katz says.

So, laugh! It's a prescription for healthy living.

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