Laughter is the Best Medicine: The Health Benefits of Humor

Have you ever wondered how good you feel after  a hearty laugh?

Members of laughter clubs can vouch about the benefits of laughter. Most of them tend to continue with them unlike gym membership which tend to be discontinued.

Laughing has lots of health benefits. Even the physical act of laughing seems to have health benefits!!


Laughter relaxes the whole body.

Laughter boosts the immune system.

Laughter promotes a sense of well-being by releasing endorphins.

Laughter protects the heart.

Laughter lowers stress hormones.

Laughter relieves stress and anxiety and improved mood.

Laughing with others is more powerful than laughing alone.







Laughter is the Best Medicine: The Health Benefits of Humor.

Run for 7 minutes daily to cut risk of heart attacks!

A simple seven-minute run has now been found to cut the risk of a heart attack or death due to stroke by 55%. 

Scientists confirm that running for only a few minutes a day or at slow speeds may significantly reduce a person’s risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to someone who does not run. 

The US government and the World Health Organization recommend 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity activity, such as running but it was unclear whether there are health benefits for those exercising below this level. 

Researchers, therefore, studied 55,137 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a 15-year period to determine whether there is a relationship between running and longevity. 

Compared with non-runners, the runners had a 30% lower risk of death from all causes and a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. 

Runners, on average, lived three years longer compared to non-runners. 

The authors have, therefore, concluded that promoting running is as important as preventing smoking, obesity or hypertension. 

The benefits were the same no matter how long, far, frequently or fast participants reported running. 

Benefits were also the same regardless of sex, age, body mass index, health conditions, smoking status or alcohol use. 

Running three times a week cut the chance of a fatal heart attack or stroke by 61% which was slightly more than those who ran once or twice a week. 

The optimum running speed was between 7.1mph and 7.6mph which cut the risk of a dying from a heart attack or stroke by 60%, the study found. 

Dr Chi Pang Wen of the Institute of Population Health Sciences in Taiwan said “A five-min run is as good as 15-min walk and a 25-min run can generate benefits that would require four times longer to accomplish by walking. As the researchers indicated, for younger individuals who are pressed for time, running is a far better option for time efficiency. Exercise is a miracle drug in many ways. The list of diseases that exercise can prevent, delay, modify progression of, or improve outcomes for is longer than we currently realise. We do not need to be athletes to exercise — it should be part of all of our daily routines.”
So, Get Going People!!!



Run for 7 minutes daily to cut risk of heart attacks, scientists say – The Times of India.

Community Physicians (GPs) need to emphasise on Exercise, Diet and Lifestyle measures!

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to take a lecture for 70-80 community physicians (GP as we call them) on management of coronary artery disease.

The lecture went without any hitch and covered various  aspects of pathogenesis, clinical features and medical management of coronary artery disease. Most of the physicians said that they followed the current medical guidelines when it comes to prescribing drugs. But, majority of them did not advise their patients on Diet, Exercise and Life-sytle measures as part of the treatment protocol.


GPs are the community doctors whom the patients trust a lot. Most of them have been family physicians for generations of the same family. Also GPs have lot of time compared to their specialist counterparts. So, it is imperative that GPS spend 5-10 minutes of their talk counselling their patients about Lifestyle measures.


GPs need to emphasise the importance of the following:

1. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!! Its a myth that patients with heart problems face higher risk when they exercise. Infact, exercise helps to build up cardiopulmonary reserve and improve mood and reduce symptoms.

2. Diet: should be part and parcel of their prescription. They need to advise their patient to consume a wholesome diet but low in fats and sugars.

3. Positive thinking. In todays world, lot of patients consider themselves unlucky and harbour negative thoughts about their health, fate and destiny once they are labeled as patients with CAD. GPs need to encourage patients to think positive and make them change their outlook towards their disease.

4. Adherence to Medications: Patients can be followed up more frequently by their GPs compared to the specialists. The regular followup bolsters patient’s faith in them and also in the medicines.

In our country, being a GP is considered subordinate to a Specialist. However, even in todays age of overspecialisation, their importance to the community is irreplaceable!!




We are much more than our cholesterol level.


The new guidelines on cholesterol treatment advocate aggressive control of Cholesterol levels by drugs called statins for primary prevention of heart disease. They advocate high-intensity and moderate intensity statins in patients with intermediate risks of developing heart disease.

Majority of the Physicians would be following these recommendations. But, there is a great need to discuss the risks and benefits of statin therapy with individual patients.

These become more relevant when we know that statins do increase marginally the incidence of developing diabetes.

Two recent studies also throw up interesting findings:

Study 1. A study presented in April 2014 at the Society of General Internal Medicine meeting in San Diego showed that individuals prescribed statin therapy for high cholesterol consumed more calories and more fat than nonstatin users. And, not surprisingly, this increase in calories paralleled an increase in BMI in statin users.

Study 2. An analysis of a prospective cohort study of men (published in JAMA Internal Medicine) revealed that physical-activity levels were “modestly” lower among statin users compared with nonusers independent of other cardiac medications and of medical history.

Though there may be a biologic or chemical explanation for the above findings, the above studies point to Lifestyle-Statin interaction whereby there seems to be a sense of protection felt by the patients on statins. Individuals on statins (due to a sense of security due to their drug compliance) may be abandoning on Diet moderation and Physical activity. This abandoning of important lifestyle measures would reduce gains of statin therapy.

The above findings suggest that Physicians need to continuously emphasise the importance of Lifestyle measures to individual patients irrespective of their cholesterol levels or statin therapy!