By Rajnish Mago, MD (bio)
I wrote, as a joke, that “No randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials have yet conclusively shown that laughter is the best medicine.” 🙂
Then, to my surprise, on doing a PubMed search, I found that randomized, controlled clinical trials of “humor training” have been published (e.g., Tagalidou et al., 2019)!
But, apparently purists do think that “more research is needed” before we can say that laughter is good medicine, let alone “the best medicine”! See image below.
I think, though, that we should go easy in doing research on humor because:
Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the purely scientific mind.EB White and KS White (1941), sometimes wrongly attributed to Mark Twain
Gelkopf M. The use of humor in serious mental illness: a review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:342837. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep106. Epub 2011 Jan 3. PubMed PMID: 19687190; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3135316.
Hassed C. How humour keeps you well. Aust Fam Physician. 2001 Jan;30(1):25-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 11211708.
Lawrentschuk N. Humour and urology: “Nota bene dick doc”. Can Urol Assoc J. 2012 Jun;6(3):E110. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.12053. PubMed PMID: 22709879; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3377734.
Louie D, Brook K, Frates E. The Laughter Prescription: A Tool for Lifestyle Medicine. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016 Jun 23;10(4):262-267. doi: 10.1177/1559827614550279. eCollection 2016 Jul-Aug. PubMed PMID: 30202281; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6125057.
Martin RA. Humor, laughter, and physical health: methodological issues and research findings. Psychol Bull. 2001 Jul;127(4):504-19. Review. PubMed PMID: 11439709.
Tagalidou N, Distlberger E, Loderer V, Laireiter AR. Efficacy and feasibility of a humor training for people suffering from depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorder: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 20;19(1):93. doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2075-x. PubMed PMID: 30894148; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6425626.
Yates S. Finding your funny bone. Incorporating humour into medical practice. Aust Fam Physician. 2001 Jan;30(1):22-4. Review. PubMed PMID: 11211707.
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