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    A new investigation from the University of Maryland Medical Centre has shown that people who laugh and have a good healthy sense of humour is beneficial for the heart. The researchers found that in the same age group, people with diseased hearts are 40 percent less likely to laugh with healthy hearts in a variety of situations.

    The research examined the humour responses of 300 participants, 150 who had undergone coronary bypass surgery or had heart disease, with other 150 age-matched participants with healthy hearts.

    Michael Miller, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of the Centre for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Centre remarked:

    "We don't know yet why laughing protects the heart, but we know that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack."

    The results of the laughter showed that people with disease hearts are less likely to laugh in uncomfortable situations and are less likely to recognise humour when they see any. Generally, people with diseased hearts are less likely to laugh even in positive situations, compared to people with healthy hearts. Dr Miller hypothesised that in the future, physicians could be advising patients to eat right, exercise regularly and even laugh a few times a day.

    The importance of managing stress in our lives is the key to improved health, as evident in the results of the survey. Unrelieved stress can lead to heart problems, increased blood pressure and negatively affect out intestinal systems. Road rage, a repercussion of stress, has also caused fatal damages on the roads.

    "So the next time an email joke shows up in your inbox, take some time to read it and enjoy it, the time you spend laughing could add years to your life." - quoted from "About Senior Health".