Is Laughter Truly the Best Medicine?

It is said that Hippocrates prescribed laughter to his patients in 4 B.C.E. Was he on to something or was he a fraud?

How Laughter Helps

Actually, modern research agrees with Hippocrates. Researchers have been studying this since the 1970’s, but it really gained traction in the early 80s  when writer Norman Cousins cured himself of ankylosing spondylitis with vitamins and laughter. In the mid 80’s a study by Dillon, Minchoff and Baker (1985) found laughter increased antibodies that fight infection. Du Pre’s 1998 study indicated laughter increased the disease-fighting killer cells and lowered blood pressure.

Further research shows that those who scored high on a sense of humor scale also score high on optimism and self-esteem measures that results in quicker recovery, increased stress coping abilities, enhanced immune function, and reduced pain experience (Friedler 2010, Lefcourt 2002). In some cases, all you need to do is think about laughing to accrue these benefits (Berk, Berk, and Tan 2008).


So, is laughter the best medicine? It increases antibodies and enhances the body’s immune functions, lowers blood pressure and stress, speeds recovery,  reduces pain, and according to Cousins, cures incurable diseases. — That’s a resounding YES.


5 Tips on Goal Setting for Well-Being

Goals are extremely important to our sense of well-being. But, not just any goals, research has shown goals with certain characteristics are achieved easier and help make us happy. Here’s the skinny on goal setting for a high completion rate and max benefit.

  1. Make goals that have personal meaning to you.
  2. Make goals that align with your beliefs or value structure.
  3. Goals that focus on helping others bring more satisfaction and higher completion rates than self-serving goals.
  4. Approach goals are easier to achieve and give more sense of fulfillment than avoidance goals. For instance, I want to meditate every day (approach) is more attainable than I want to cut sugar out of my diet (avoidance).
  5. Highly abstract goals work well for long range goals but concrete goals work best for short range.

Remember, making progress toward goals brings a higher sense of well-being than achieving the goal. Or as Denzel Washington’s character said in The Equalizer, “Progress not perfection.”

Alzheimer’s Disease from a Neurological Perspective


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the number one neurological disease in America and is the most common form of dementia.  The side effects of this disease are devastating to the patient, the family and the community where they reside. This paper investigates 3 new treatments for AD, TMS with cognitive training, deep brain stimulation, and insulin therapy. All show signs of slowing the progression of AD but insulin therapy has the most promise because it is non-invasive, has better results and less time consuming than the other therapies.

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Anorexia Nervosa- media glamorization

The major objections noted include concerns about glamorizing and glorifying eating disorders, as well as teaching “tips and tricks” for weight loss and hiding behaviors from treatment providers. Psychology Today rips Netflix new video regarding anorexia nervosa.  Thanks to Psychology Today for pointing out the foibles of this movie – as …

Stinging Nettles

A rock and a hard place. I’m sitting here at my desk, headache, pressure, itchy watery eyes, sneezing, roll of toilet paper under heavy use. Welcome to spring in Houston. Tree pollen is off the charts, cars are covered with a dingy green powder and I am miserable. I have …

10 Nutrition Myths Debunked

When it comes to nutrition, false or misleading information seems to be everywhere. Start a conversation with a stranger—or even a loved one—and you’ll hear how eating fat makes you fat. Too much protein, of course, will kill you deader than a ribeye. And yes, egg yolks are the devil. …