Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine conducted a study which adds weight to the belief that a positive attitude is key to maintaining a healthy heart.
In a trial, a team of scientists discovered that watching comedy movies stimulated blood flow, as participants experienced dilated blood vessels. Conversely, when the same volunteers watched a sad or stressful movie, their arteries constricted.
“The magnitude of change we saw in the endothelium after laughing was consistent and similar to the benefit we might see with aerobic exercise or statin use,” said lead investigator Michael Miller.
The researchers measured the differences in blood vessel diameter in the 300 participants, from the time they viewed the 1998 film “There’s Something About Mary” to the changes that occurred when watching “Saving Private Ryan,” and observed an average 30 percent to 50 percent difference.
Authors of the study noted that their finding that emotions had an effect on the endothelium, or the lining, of blood vessels is significant because of the role the cells play in the development of cardiovascular disease.