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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area. His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM. His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

Dr. Smith has adopted audio and video podcasting as conduits for HEALTH NEWS YOU SHOULD USE. Based on the latest medical, health, and wellness literature these reports provide practical information you can use to keep yourself and your family healthy. Many reports have video versions, and Dr. Smith’s YouTube Channel may be found at:

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.  He is now based in New York City.

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Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only. Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

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