LONDON (CBS Atlanta) – Contrary to what “Patch Adams” and “Scrubs” would have you believe, laughter is not always the best medicine.
But a new study finds that it’s not always true, and laughter can actually be harmful in some cases, reports the Daily Mail.
Researchers from Birmingham and Oxford Universities looked at medical data going all the way back to 1946 to see what kinds of effects laughter can have on the body.
During one test clowns were sent into hospitals to entertain patients.
And the results showed a dose of ‘genuine laughter’ for a whole day could help shed the pounds by burning 2,000 calories.
And 36 per cent of would-be mothers undergoing IVF treatment got pregnant after a visit from the clowns, compared to just 20 per cent in a control group.
But not all the effects were favorable.
The study found excessive laughter can cause epileptic fits, ruptured hearts and asthma.
Some people have even suffered from incontinence or hernias from too many belly laughs.
The scientists say their results challenge the prevailing wisdom that laughter is always beneficial.
But in low doses, they say, a bit of a laugh can be really good.
The paper was published in the Christmas edition of British Medical Journal.