Laughter really is among the best medicines when it comes to multiple sclerosis (MS), says Yvonne deSousa, an MS patient, humorist and author who plans to share her tips on integrating humor into daily living, in a free webinar organized by GeneFo.
The webinar, which will also discuss research into laughter therapy for MS, will take place Sept. 27 at 1 pm EST (6 pm in the United Kingdom).
Scientists are increasingly aware that emotions play a crucial role in determine progression rates and outcomes of chronic diseases. This has led researchers to study how therapies including humor and laughter might contribute to improve patient’s well-being.
DeSousa, a native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has been nominated for a WEGO Health Hilarious Patient Leader Award. She promises to offer hands-on advice on how to “find the funny, de-stress, and enjoy a good laugh” despite the reality of living with a chronic and debilitating condition such as MS.
The online lecture will also focus on the biology of how laughter can improve patient outcomes. Research shows that laughing affects immune and endocrinological processes, while increasing tolerance to pain. Laughter also counteracts anxiety and depression.
These factors, deSousa pointed out, are all crucial in MS, and she should know. The comic has taken a humorous approach to her own illness from the start, and now runs a blog that recently made the Top 50 MS Blog list. She’s also written a book — called MS Madness — on the topic.
The webinar will also introduce a research project led by Dr. Theodore Brown that now seeks MS patients for a study of how laughter therapy affects mood, stress and self-efficacy. Researchers hope these types of studies will encourage doctors to incorporate humor-based practices into common care protocols for MS. Details of the research program will be shared with webinar attendees.
Those wishing to participate in the free webinar — and receive a video recording by email later — can register by following this link.