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Surely You Jest

Laughter can make you literally feel good

How many laughs have you lost over the years?

Pathologist Lee S. Berk from Loma Linda University in California has counted them. Each day, a child laughs 400 times. By adulthood, however, a person laughs, on average, only 15 times a day. Recapturing some of that gleefulness of youth might help heal some chronic diseases, Ananova reports.

Psychologists have actually treated depressed patients by "prescribing" videotape viewings of standup comedy for 30 minutes a day. Britain's Independent recounts that after four weeks, depression scores had dropped significantly.

Although humor might seem a natural antidote to depression, laughter also appears to help other illnesses. Two previous stories from HealthDay explain how mirth may make for healthy hearts and how watching funny movies can reduce allergy symptoms.

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