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Chronic life stressors such as depression, anxiety, hostility, and anger may contribute to increased risk of coronary heart disease,1 in part by impairing endothelial function.2,3 Although coronary heart disease may also be associated with attenuated positive emotions as shown by reduced situational humour,4 little if any information is available regarding the potential impact of positive emotions on vascular reactivity. Because cinematic viewing evokes a range of negative and positive emotions, the present study was designed to compare the effect of mental stress versus laughter on endothelial function.
Twenty non-smoking, healthy men and women, mean (SD) age 33 (7) years, with normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose provided written informed consent to participate in this randomised and counterbalanced, crossover study approved by the institutional review board. After an overnight fast that included abstinence from alcohol, vitamins, herbs, and aerobic activity, volunteers had a baseline brachial artery reactivity test and were then randomly assigned to view a 15–30 minute segment of a movie designed …
All authors participated in the conception and design of the study, and drafting and revision of the manuscript and provided administrative, technical, or material support.