Laughter Is Good Medicine

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Anthropological research suggests laughter and humor are genetically built-in, and that humor, historically, has functioned as “a social glue.” The critical laughter trigger for most people is not necessarily a joke or funny movie, but rather another person
  • Laughter is contagious. The sound of laughter triggers regions in the premotor cortical region of your brain, which is involved in moving your facial muscles to correspond with sound
  • While children laugh on average 300 times a day, adults laugh only 17 times a day on average. Suggestions for how to get more laughter in your life are included
  • In one study, even after adjusting for confounding factors, the prevalence of heart diseases among those who rarely or never laughed was 21% higher, and the ratio of stroke 60% higher, than among those who laughed every day
  • Benefits of laughter have been reported in geriatrics, critical and general patient care, rehabilitation, home care, hospice care, oncology, psychiatry, rheumatology, palliative care and terminal care

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Red Convertible or Artificial Hip?

redIf you have $25,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can plunk it down on a new, red convertible, or an artificial hip and months of painful rehabilitation.

Before you make your decision, friend, remember — at least you can return the car if it turns out to be a lemon.

A new study out of Canada Continue reading

Sonar Device Brings Vision to those Blind from Birth

Researchers at Hebrew University in Jerusalem are developing a sonar-based device that, according to preliminary tests, already allows the congenitally blind to distinguish between different shapes and even to read. Just as shockingly, the device appears to activate areas of the brain that were formerly believed to Continue reading

Kids with Cerebral Palsy May Benefit from Video Game Play

New research published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Like their healthy peers, children with disabilities may spend too much time in front of a video screen. For children with cerebral palsy (CP), this leads to an even greater risk of being overweight or developing health issues such as diabetes or musculoskeletal disorders. Continue reading

High Doses of ‘Load’ Slows Loss of Bone in Spinal Cord Injury

At the end of a 3-year study, participant’s thighbones that received either a low dose of load or no load had a density that was almost 40 percent lower than thighbones that received a high dose of load

Loss of bone density leads to brittle bones that fracture easily. It is a major complication of spinal cord injury (SCI), which affects about 250,000 Americans every year.

A new clinical trial conducted by University of Iowa researchers shows that delivering high doses of “load,” or stress, to bone through programmed electrical stimulation of the muscle significantly slows the loss of bone density in patients with SCI.

The focus on quantifying the effective dose of load is one of the study’s most important aspects, says Richard Shields, P.T., Ph.D., a professor and director of the UI Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science Graduate Programs. The study also is the first to carefully test the impact of different doses of load in humans with paralysis.

Previous research had suggested that stressing or loading bone through muscle contractions could slow the loss of bone density, but results from clinical trials have been mixed. Continue reading