It looks like there is some scientific truth to the old saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” A new study from Loma Linda University in California finds that humor may reduce age-related memory loss caused by the “stress hormone” cortisol.

Too much stress has been linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, allergies and diabetes. Stress has also been shown to lessen learning ability and memory in the elderly due to increased cortisol production that damages neurons in the brain.

One of the best (and proven) stress relievers is laughter, so the research team led by Dr. Gurinder Singh Bains, came together to test this hypothesis: Laughter may reduce neuron damage caused by “stress hormone” cortisol, therefore improving memory in older individuals.

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