Friday, December 13, 2013

Laughter: Good for the Soul, maybe, but also can be bad for the Body!

A fellow of the BMJ has written a paper on the study of laughter.  While touted as being overall good for improving the mental state but also promoting health in lung functions, lowering blood pressure and improving mental health. 

But in all honesty the author points out that there are numerous severe side effects that can be quite debilitating, such as: dislocated jaw, incontinence, headaches, cardiac rupture,syncope,oesophageal rupture,  protrusion of abdominal hernias (from side splitting laughter or laughing fit to burst), asthma attacks, interlobular emphysema, cataplexy. 

It should also be noted that infectious laughter can disseminate real infection, which is potentially preventable by laughing up your sleeve., or into your elbow. 

There are of course pathological causes laughter that have to be treated medically, but for the most part someone needs merely to be made aware that they are at risk of injury (ie a short swift blow to either side of the head) is often enough to effect a prevention of any of the above mentioned side effects.

The paper goes on to   category references for laughter being less than beneficial: 
  • Psychological harms:   Humour weakens resolve and promotes brand preference   
  • Respiratory harms: The quick intake of breath that accompanies laugher can provoke inhalation of foreign bodies  
  • Gastrointestinal harms: A good belly laugh can make a hernia protrude 
  • Musculoskeletal harms: Laughing can dislocate the jaw     
  • Urinary tract harms:  Laughter can cause stress incontinence. ( “giggle ncontinence”) 
and many and much more...Here is a link to the BMJ 

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