Jul 23, 2019
An unexpected observation during a patient’s awake neurosurgery confirms that laughter leads to a sense of calm and happiness. Surgeons at Emory University in Atlanta relate this fascinating, whimsical tale.
A young patient with difficult to control epilepsy was undergoing awake neurosurgery to pinpoint the seizure focus. During the surgery, the surgeons inadventantly stimulated a pathway called the cingulum bundle, and the patient immediately began to smile, laugh, joke, and report an extremely calming and mood elevating experience that seemed to neutralize not only pain but also any scary thoughts.
The neuroscientists repeated this same cingulum bundle stimulation in two other seizure patients to confirm their initial observation. They plan to use this stimulation technique in the future to calm nervous surgical patients and possibly to help treat depression.
The good news is that you can trigger laughter and its calming and pain-neutralizing aftermath with a funny book or movie, some standup comedy, and looking for the funny side of life. Try it and enjoy!
Kelly R. Bijanki, Joseph R. Manns, Cory S. Inman, Ki Sueng Choi, Sahar Harati, Nigel P. Pedersen, Daniel L. Drane, Allison C. Waters, Rebecca E. Fasano, Helen S. Mayberg, Jon T. Willie. Cingulum stimulation enhances positive affect and anxiolysis to facilitate awake craniotomy. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2018; DOI: 10.1172/JCI120110
#laughter #calm #mood #elevation #epilepsy #seizure #awake #neurosurgery