Presentation Abstract

Presentation Title: Effectiveness of humor on short-term memory function and cortisol levels in age matched elderly and diabetic subjects vs. control group
Presentation Number: 684.4
Poster Board Number: A207
Presentation Time: Sunday, Apr 27, 2014, 12:45 PM - 3:00 PM
Speaker(s): Gurinder S. Bains, Lee Berk, Noha Daher, Everett Lohman, Jerrold Petrofsky, Ernie Schwab, Pooja Deshpande

Allied Health/Physical Therapy, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
 G.S. Bains: None. L. Berk: None. N. Daher: None. E. Lohman: None. J. Petrofsky: None. E. Schwab: None. P. Deshpande: None.
Sponsoring Society: American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR) - Guest Society - APS
Topic: 1082-APS Cognition and behavior
Abstract: With ageing, the damaging effects of stress can impair the ability to learn and sustain memory. The purpose was to examine the effect of watching a humor video on short term memory in 3 age matched elderly groups: elderly (69.9 ± 3.7 years), diabetic (67.1 ± 3.8 years), and control (68.7 ± 5.5 years) (no video). Humor and the associated mirthful laughter can reduce stress by decreasing the stress hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol can damage hippocampal neurons leading to impairment of learning and memory. The standardized neuropsychological memory assessment tool, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) was used to assess for 1) learning ability, 2) recall ability, and 3) visual recognition ability. Salivary cortisol measurements, at 3 predetermined time points, were obtained. RAVLT was given to 30 elderly individuals before and after watching a humor video of their choice for 20 minutes vs. no humor video. Results showed that 1) learning ability improved by 38.45% , 33.38%, and 23.96% in the elderly, diabetic, and control groups respectively (p=.025); 2) delayed recall improved by 43.61%, 48.10%, and 20.25% in the elderly, diabetic, and control groups respectively (p=.064); and 3)visual recognition increased by 12.55%, 16.72%, and 8.33% in the elderly, diabetic, and control groups respectively (p=.321). Results, for the changes in salivary cortisol levels, at the predetermined time points, indicated there were 1) borderline significant changes in the elderly group (p=.047, .046, and .062 respectively), 2) significant changes in the diabetic group (p=.047, .025, and .035 respectively), and 3) no changes in the control group (p=.323, .323, and .187 respectively). Due to decreased cortisol levels, elderly and diabetic elderly individuals that watch a humor video that induces mirthful laughter vs. not watching a humor video have greater enhancement in: 1) capability to learn, 2) have greater recall, and 3) improve visual recognition in short term memory function.

Experimental Biology
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