Is laughter the best medicine? Well, no, clearly it's not. But Osaka Medical Centre for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases in Japan intends to find out whether it can have a beneficial effect on people with cancer, by hosting comedy shows at its new facility.
The Japan Times reports that the study, starting in May and surely ripe for an Ig Nobel award, will monitor participants' levels of the stress hormone cortisol and cancer cell activity over four months. During that time, they'll watch live shows from comedy performers, although how the hilarity of the shows is being measured is anyone's guess. We'd have thought it'd make more sense to use a prerecorded show so that results could be replicated and independently verified, but maybe bedbound patients have already watched all the re-runs of Friends they can stomach.
This isn't the first time the effects of laughter on the body have been studied, but it'll be interesting to see how the longer-term experiment compares with existing research suggesting that having a good old giggle can be good for you. It's got to be better than homeopathy, anyway. [Japan Times]