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    Dr. Stuber expects Rx Laughter, which includes numerous classic and contemporary videos, will be helpful to children who suffer from serious conditions such as cancer, cerebral palsy, congenital orthopedic problems, orthopedic injuries or burns. She says that reducing pain not only helps in the short term, but also helps in the psychological adjustment for months and years afterward.

    Rx Laughter is looking at laughter in several different ways:

  • how amused the children are

  • how much they laugh

  • the physiological and psychological responses to that laughter

    "We are evaluating both the behaviors and the thoughts. Does it matter how funny they think it is or does it matter more how much they laugh? They are related but they are not the same," says Dr. Stuber. "Similarly, how much they judge something hurts may be different than how long they can tolerate the pain."

    During the briefing, Dr. Stuber will discuss the specific relationships between humour, laughter, pain perception and pain tolerance observed in the initial study group. She will also discuss data now being analyzed on the effect of laughter on cortisol levels. Elevation of cortisol is an indication of stress response; consequently, most people in pain have an immediate cortisol rise.

    "We are determining when in the procedure Rx Laughter needs to be applied. For instance, did the protective effects of watching comedy before a procedure carry through? It appears that watching the video during the procedure is the most effective," says Dr. Stuber.

    Dr. Stuber recommends that parents learn something from their child’s innate coping skills. "Try to laugh with your child. Use laughter to get out of a confrontation or a grim moment. It will make both of you feel better. Laughter may indeed be the best medicine," she concludes.