Shakespeare wrote that music was the food of love but it seems that laughter is the elixir of life.  Particularly when prompted by comedian Michael McIntyre.

Deaths from influenza amongst the elderly have risen sharply in recent years, and it’s known that flu vaccinations don’t work for everybody.   In 2017 researchers at Nottingham University found that being in a good mood before having a ‘flu vaccination increases its protective power.

Now they are planning another trial to discover whether laughter before the flu jab has the same effect.  People taking part (aged 65 – 85) will have their mood measured and then will watch 15 minutes of Michael McIntyre, after which their mood will be tested again to see if they feel happier.  Their blood will then tested before the jab and four weeks later to see if they have higher levels of antibody responses.

Health psychologist Prof Kavita vedhara said that improving protection was vital. The aim is to see fewer older people develop flu, ‘which can be a devastating condition in the elderly.’

Michael McIntyre was chosen because he is considered one of the least offensive of current comedians.  (Times, 10th February).  Which is another way of saying that he can make people laugh without being coarse and using foul language.

He may be worth watching whether or not you need a flu jab!


Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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