Comedic films are literally good for your heart, the researchers said, while movies in the horror, drama, or war genres, regardless of your cinematic tastes, can cause stress that damages your vascular function.
The research presented this week in Paris at the European Society of Cardiology 2011 Congress explores the role of movies on your heart health.
In the study, researchers from the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore in the US showed subjects the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, an intense 15-minute segment depicting Allied forces storming the beach of Normandy in 1944. Researchers were also shown segments of There’s Something About Mary, Shallow Hal, and Kingpin, all comedies by the Farrelly brothers.
When subjects viewed the comedies, the lining of their vessels expanded. Just the opposite happened while watching the war film: the subjects’ blood vessel linings constricted, lessening blood flow. “The take-home message here is that laughter is great for your heart,” said Dr. Michael Miller, lead investigator in the study.