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  • Rx Laughter
    Home Supporters Media News Wellness Projects Reference Donate Contact Photos Audios Videos Press Articles Media The impossible is often the untried James Goodwin Press Article Rx Laughter is a 501c3

    Original URL path: http://www.rxlaughter.org/m_press27.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Rx Laughter
    helped study subjects to better tolerate pain The next phase of the study which the benefit will help fund will examine the advantages of humor over other types of distraction and the benefits of laughter for children and adolescents undergoing medical procedures such as blood draws Leading the study are Dr Lonnie Zeltzer cancer researcher professor of Pediatrics Psychiatry and Anesthesiology and director of the Pediatric Pain Program at the Mattel Children s Hospital at UCLA and Dr Margaret Stuber cancer researcher and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute Our ultimate goal is to help children who are hospitalized and getting treatment for serious illnesses such as cancer and AIDS where the immune system is vital and improving it could be life saving Stuber said It s already been suggested that if you make people laugh they don t get as anxious and they deal better with pain and do better in the hospital What we don t know and what we hope to find out is whether laughter actually makes a physical difference in such things as speed of healing Stuber and Zeltzer will monitor physiological aspects of the stress response such as heart rate blood pressure palm sweats the levels of a stress related hormone called cortisol and various other immune system factors to see if laughter can be used to help young patients Rx Laughter is a cooperative effort between cancer researchers and the entertainment industry The founder and president of Rx Laughter is Sherry Dunay Hilber a veteran primetime network executive Hilber brought her proposal to Stuber and Zeltzer who worked closely with her to develop a study plan As an extension of Rx Laughter Hilber designed an in hospital comedy channel for pediatric hospitals The system will

    Original URL path: http://www.rxlaughter.org/m_press25.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Rx Laughter
    phase of its program Numerous healthy children and teens were hooked up to monitors as they watched funny TV shows and films such as Malcolm in the Middle Blazing Saddles Saturday Night Live The Simpsons to see how humor affects physical and emotional health The goal is to incorporate humorous TV shows and films into medical treatments at hospitals across the nation Results will be presented by Hilber and UCLA

    Original URL path: http://www.rxlaughter.org/m_press23.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Rx Laughter
    Costello all of whose living offspring are donating the films to the project How do you license something like that said Chris Costello daughter of comic actor Lou Costello You can t it s like do you put a price tag on health Initial research focused on healthy children and their responses to humorous videos The doctors used non invasive medical procedures to measure heart rate and other biologic functions to see if laughter has a measurable physiological effect on healthy children and adolescents Next the research will shift to young patients with diseases such as cancer and AIDS that impact the immune system The hope humor can be incorporated into treatment procedures for young patients For example children and adolescents undergoing chemotherapy or other frightening procedures could watch funny videos to help alleviate stress and fear Back to Top Wired Into Laughter The UCLA study is just starting and is slated to run five years but it s already getting some tantalizing results Perfectly healthy kids are wired up then asked to do something harmless but painful They are asked to submerge one of their hands in cold water at 10 degrees Celsius and keep it there for as long as they can up to a maximum of three minutes On average kids are able to hold their arms in the freezing water for only about 87 seconds But if they are shown funny videos during the painful procedure their heart rate blood pressure and breathing all their vital signs get better stronger so they re able to put up with the pain for 125 seconds a full 40 percent longer And afterwards a sample of the stress hormone Cortisol in their saliva shows that laughing helps their bodies recover from the ordeal much faster I m hoping we

    Original URL path: http://www.rxlaughter.org/m_press22.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Rx Laughter
    Lucy imitating a baby crying This was just what the doctor did i not i order LAUGHTER It made such a huge difference It even took i my i mind off the situation When it came time for the CAT scan doctors did not have to sedate Jean Thankfully everything checked out just fine The intense pain the toddler was feeling was due to an unusually fast growth spurt Little Jean is now back to being an active toddler So if watching the antics of that famously wacky redhead on I Love Lucy calmed a frightened two year old could that same humor have positive effects on seriously ill children with diseases such as cancer and AIDS Well that s just what a research team at the UCLA Mattel Children s Hospital is trying to determine in a study called Rx Laughter By showing classic comedy films TV shows and cartoons like I Love Lucy Mork and Mindy Charlie Chaplin The Marx Bros Bugs Bunny and more researchers will examine whether humor helps to reduce stress ease fear and pain and promote faster healing We have a pretty good idea about the impact that laughter and humor can have on a person s mental well being says Dr Lonnie Zeltzer a UCLA cancer researcher and Director of the Pediatric Pain Program at the Mattel Children s Hospital but no one really looked with any depth at the possible biological links between health having a good sense of humor and the act of laughter itself says Zeltzer We ll study the impact both laughter and humor have on the immune system and pain transmission and control The non profit study launched last May was founded by Sherry Dunay Hilber a UCLA alum and former primetime TV comedy executive at ABC and CBS where she oversaw hit sitcoms such as i Roseanne and Coach i I have often wondered while watching an audience laugh how they were possibly affected both physically and emotionally by their laughter says Hilber The five year long study will first focus on the effect humor has on healthy kids and adolescents both physically and emotionally Researchers will then focus on testing the physiological responses to laughter in children and adolescents who are suffering from conditions such as cancer and AIDS as well as other diseases that effect the immune system We ll monitor the patient s stress response such as heart rate blood pressure and the levels of a stress related hormone called Cortisol says researcher Dr Margaret Stuber an expert in Psychiatry and Bio behavioral Sciences at UCLA If laughter proves to be the best medicine Hilber and the research team hope that hospitals and Doctors will create a hospital wide program schedule containing the comedy videos the study found to be most effective Patients will then be able to view the comedic tapes during blood drawings chemotherapy dialysis and other stressful tests and treatments In dialysis the pediatric patients must come for treatments 3 times

    Original URL path: http://www.rxlaughter.org/m_press20.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Rx Laughter
    can be used as a complement to traditional medical treatments to maximize healing and to improve immune functions Then Hilber intends to implement a comedy entertainment viewing system at UCLA and other hospitals The medical community is very skilled at treating illness but it needs to focus more on how positive emotions can help she says We need to find out how to use humor and laughter in combination with other medical treatments Conceivably we could offer a dose of a specific TV show or cartoon to ease their pain and help them heal Rx Laughter is in many ways a reflection of Sherry Hilber For the past decade she was a creative executive at ABC and CBS overseeing sitcoms such as Roseanne Home Improvement and Cybil But despite her career success Hilber wanted to use her experience in comedy for a greater purpose I loved what I was doing but there came a point when I knew I needed to do this she explains Since leaving the world of television production two years ago Hilber has devoted herself full time to Rx Laughter After piquing the interest of key researchers at UCLA she single handedly designed the humor intervention the videocassettes used by choosing obtaining reviewing and selecting the segments for the research She assembled the project s advisory board a somewhat uncommon combination of showbiz luminaries and renowned scientists And Hilber procured the initial funding for the study including a 75 000 grant from the cable television channel Comedy Central channel It wasn t easy to give up the stability of a dependable salary and the wonderful benefits of being with my talented colleagues in the entertainment industry on a daily basis Hilber says reflecting her career change But she has no regrets Sometimes in the middle of

    Original URL path: http://www.rxlaughter.org/m_press19.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Rx Laughter
    in April It Came from Hollywood If the scientific community at large was hesitating the idea that laughter could help heal began emerging on other fronts Rx Laughter actually came straight from Hollywood the brainstorm of Sherry Dunay Hilber a former ABC and CBS network programming executive who oversaw such hit sitcoms as Home Improvement Roseanne Coach Who s the Boss and Cybill The study even has its own Web site www rxlaughter org Hilber came up with the study idea about two years ago in the midst she says of looking for some more meaningful way of using my abilities something beyond worrying about the ratings of last night s show She pitched her concept to Stuber and Zeltzer who immediately came on board as the co principal investigators and honed the study plan and then enlisted the support of the offspring of comedy s legends Included on Rx Laughter s Advisory Board Josephine Chaplin daughter of Charlie Chaplin Chris Costello daughter of Lou Costello Ronald J Field s grandson of W C Fields Melissa Talmadge Cox the granddaughter of Buster Keaton and Bill Marx son of Harpo Marx of the Marx Brothers For a scientific investigation it is a unique teaming But the descendants of comedy s pioneers needed no convincing Growing up in the whirlwind shadows of their famous forebears they learned early that comedy was a potent and powerful force You grow up with what you know and I grew up with some wackos who taught me that when you have a sense of humor you automatically have an option in your view of life says Marx Fields agrees and adds Humor is nothing but extreme positive thinking With their support and assistance Hilber secured all the necessary rights and permissions from the studios free of any licensing charges something that almost seems unbelievable But as Chris Costello puts it There are some things you just can t put a price tag on One reason Hilber Stuber and Zeltzer agreed on the works of Chaplin Costello Fields Keaton and the Marx Brothers was that they had withstood the test of time We figured there s got to be a reason for that and so we felt pretty safe going with those explains Hilber When I was a child I never really understood the impact of what my father did but I was watching The King in New York recently and it is true These films haven t gone out of date And if they haven t gone out of date by now they never will says Josephine Chaplin The Rx Laughter team also figured that these movies and shorts would serve to establish a more objective reaction because the chances are good that most of the children have not seen many if any of them For funding Hilber contacted Comedy Central which several years ago had established its Comedy Rx program to promote the positive effects of laughter The cable network responded enthusiastically by putting up the initial 75 000 Who s on First The impact of laughter on the immune systems of children has just been waiting to be tested scientifically says Zeltzer It seems like such a no brainer The concept may be obvious enough but designing the parameters of a study like this is most certainly not a no brainer Comedy is highly subjective while science strives to be objective beyond question The levels of complexity in a study like this are as numerous as they are intricate and there are a lot of critical basic questions to consider including How does one determine what will be viewed as funny across the board Does it matter how much somebody laughs versus how funny they think something is In other words is the physical act of laughter an operative factor How does one test for differences across gender lines Ethnicity lines Age demographics In adult populations says Berk We learned that there are a lot of potential pitfalls in selecting comedy Self selection of material is important because what is funny to one person is not necessarily funny to someone else If you don t like slapstick you will experience a very different biology than I would Researchers investigating the impact of humor must also control for various other issues You have to be really pure when you do this kind of research says Berk based on his previous studies Our subjects had nothing to eat or drink for six to eight hours prior to beginning the study They could not have exercised or had coffee or any drugs or chocolate and sex was not allowed For his research whether the subject s had seen the video before was less of an issue I m looking for the conditioned response he says Actually he found that the conditioned phenomenon is real In other words we found positive effects from the anticipation Rx Laughter is a study of children so theoretically the researchers will be dealing with a less socially conditioned less biased population Although the investigators are in the first phase of selecting the videos and finalizing study parameters Stuber and Zeltzer have already begun initial second phase testing on healthy children to establish a baseline In a third phase they will look at the impact of laughter on children with cancer HIV and other life threatening diseases or disorders In terms of selecting the comedy videos part of what we have been going for are things that are consistently funny and things that no parents are going to object to says Stuber That is actually harder than one may think We have to be careful because today in the 21st century we have different eyes for some of these things than people might have had originally On request from the researchers the offspring of the legendary comedians made initial suggestions Chaplin for example suggested The Circus I thought it was the funniest one for this project and that s the one we offered

    Original URL path: http://www.rxlaughter.org/m_press18.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Rx Laughter
    Hilber Rx Laughter is supported by the Television Academy Comedy Central and other industry organizations We have a pretty good idea about the impact that laughter and humor can have on a person s mental well being said Dr Lonnie Zeltzer pictured behind Marx But no one has really looked with any depth at the possible biologic links between health having a good sense of humor and even the act

    Original URL path: http://www.rxlaughter.org/m_press17.htm (2016-02-16)
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