Type 2 Diabetes – The Effect of Humor on Short-Term Memory in Older Adults

Have you heard about humor helping short-term memory in older Type 2 diabetic adults? The stress hormone cortisol is released by the adrenal glands to prepare the body for the fight or flight response. One such preparation is to raise blood sugar levels to provide the muscles for physical activity. In a society with little physical exertion, blood sugar levels tend to stay high. Cortisol is thought to be harmful to the part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is involved in memory. Loss of short-term memory can be a problem for anyone of advancing years, and the problem appears especially pronounced for people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

One of the benefits of humor is to lower stress levels, which is likely to be at least one reason most of us enjoy it. Could humor help with short-term memory problems by lowering cortisol levels?

Researchers at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, CA, United States, compared tests of memory in older individuals before and after exposure to humor. Their study, reported on in the journal Alternative Therapy, Health, and Medicine, in May 2015, included 30 participants in their 60's and 70's …

  • 20 were healthy non-diabetic adults, and
  • 10 had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

The diabetic group and one of the healthy non-diabetic groups were given standard tests of learning and recall before and after watching a humorous video. It was found the learning ability improved by …

  • 38.5 percent for the non-diabetic individuals watching the video,
  • 33.4 percent for the diabetic patients watching it, and
  • 24 percent for the non-diabetic controls not watching the video.
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Memory improved …

  • 43.6 percent for the non-diabetic participants watching the video,
  • 48.1 percent for diabetics watching the video, and
  • 20.3 percent for non-diabetic controls not watching the video.

Cortisol levels in the saliva of the participants went down in the diabetic and non-diabetics after they watched the video.

From the above results, it was connected humor could be one way of improving memory in older adults with and without a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

The participants in the study had a choice of watching America's Funniest Home Videos or comedian Red Skelton, but a quick browse of the internet, library, or television menu will reveal humor for every taste.

The Mayo Clinic in the United States recommends humor for helping to …

  • cope with stress,
  • improving immunity,
  • relieving pain, and
  • elevating mood.

A good laugh certainly won't do any harm to any of us.

Source by Beverleigh H Piepers

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