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Do These 3 Things Daily and Defeat Memory Loss

Laughter can help stave off memory loss

According to a small new study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University, laughter can help stave off memory loss.

The team, led by Dr. Gurinder Singh Bains, analyzed one group of elderly individuals who had diabetes and another group without diabetes. Both were required to watch a 20-minute humorous video and then completed a memory test that measured their memory recall, learning ability, and visual recognition.

A third group was asked to complete the test without watching the video. The cortisol levels for all three groups were recorded before and after the experiments.

The researchers found that both groups who watched the funny video showed a significant reduction in cortisol levels compared to the group that did not watch the video. The first two groups also showed greater improvement in memory recall, learning ability, and visual recognition than the third group. The diabetic group showed the greatest improvement in cortisol levels and memory test scores.

“It's simple, the less stress you have, the better your memory,” study co-author Dr. Lee Berk said.

“Humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decrease memory hippocampal, lowers your blood pressure, and increases blood flow and your mood state.”

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Berk added, “There are even changes in brain wave activity towards what's called the 'gamma wave band frequency', which also amp up memory and recall. So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer adding to our quality of life.

The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego on Sunday, April 27.

Laughter isn’t the only way to fight off memory loss. Previous studies have found that meditation may aid memory in Alzheimer’s patients. A 2010 study of 15 individuals aged 55 to 72 found that subjects who were taught Kirtan Kriya (KK), a 12-minute singing meditation in the Kundalini yoga tradition, had significant improvements in tests that measured cognition, attention, and general memory after practicing KK daily for eight weeks.

A comparison group of five individuals who were instructed to listen to two Mozart violin concertos daily for 12 minutes didn’t show any significant improvements.

Similarly, a 2012 joint Israeli-American study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that females who prayed regularly had a 50 percent less chance of having Alzheimer’s or dementia.

“Prayer is a custom in which thought is invested, and the intellectual activity involved in prayer, beyond the content of the prayers, may constitute a protective factor against Alzheimer's,” said lead researcher Prof. Rivka Inzelberg of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

[Photo credit: The Arches / Flickr]