Research brief: Laughter helps RA

A good laugh can improve inflammatory cytokine levels in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Japanese researchers have found. They took blood samples from 41 patients before and after listening to an hour-long 'Raguko', a traditional Japanese comic story. Those who had enjoyed the story had their cytokine levels measured. 'Mirthful laughter' was found to reduce serum levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increase those of anti-inflammatory ones (Rheumatology, 2006; 45: 182-6).

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