The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4107.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - Board 10

Abstract #57824

Anticipation of complementary positive humor lifestyle behaviors decreases detrimental stress hormones and increases beta-endorphin prior to the actual experience: A metaphor for hope and health

Lee S Berk, DrPH, MPH, CHES, Susan Samueli Center and Dept. of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, University of California Irvine, and Department of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, 11645 Wiley Street, Loma Linda, CA 92354, 909-796-4112, and David, L Felten, MD, PhD, Susan Samueli Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine, College of Medicine, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92612.

Many negative lifestyle behaviors can produce chronic stressors that increase the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. This can lead to diminished anti-viral and anti-tumor immunity. We previously published that positive behavior of humor and mirthful laughter: 1) decrease cortisol and epinephrine secretion 2) increase NK cell activity; and 3) increase IFN-gamma. We recently reported that anticipation of these eustress behaviors beneficially modulates psychological mood states (POMS) prior to the actual intervention. We hypothesized that neuroendocrine stress hormone changes accompany anticipatory POMS changes. We studied 16 healthy fasting male subjects and measured baseline levels of beta-endorphin, growth hormone, cortisol, epinephrine, dopac, prolactin and norepinephrine. Three days prior to the humor intervention, subjects were notified of their random group assignment as experimental or control. Peripheral blood was drawn before the intervention and several post-baseline time points for residual anticipation trend effects. One-sided independent t-tests showed an anticipatory baseline increase for growth hormone and decrease for epinephrine (p<0.01) in the experimental subjects. Trend analysis showed a progressive pattern of eustress change with significant baseline decreases in cortisol, epinephrine, and dopac and increases for beta-endorphin and growth hormone (p<0.01). We conclude that the anticipation of a positive humor/laughter eustress intervention initiates changes in neuroendocrine hormones prior to the intervention, concomitant with POMS changes. These anticipatory neuroendocrine changes support a construct for biology to the concept of hope. We believe that wellness and recovery from illness are enhanced by anticipation and expectation of forthcoming positive lifestyle behaviors and are supportive social determinants to health.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Stress, Humor

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Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Introduction to and Considerations in Complementary and Alternative Therapies (CAM)

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA