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Dr. Lee Berk (LLU) Presents Abstracts on Healthy Chocolate, Happiness


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Dr. Lee Berk presented three new brain neuroscience research lifestyle studies associated with eating dark “healthy” chocolate (70% cacao) and  happiness induced from watching humorous laughter videos at the 2016 Experimental Biology Conference, San Diego
Berk achieved the unprecedented by having three submitted research abstracts accepted for presentation; a fourth as a co-author, by colleague Dr. Gurinder Bains at LLU-SAHP, was also accepted

Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions’ Dr. Lee Berk poses with six of his graduate student researchers at the 2016 Experimental Biology conference, held in San Diego, Calif.

LOMA LINDA, Calif., April 7, 2016 — Three abstracts that were submitted for peer-review and presentation by Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, on research for which he serves as Principal Investigator (PI), were presented at the 2016 Experimental Biology Conference, which was held in San Diego, Calif., April 2-7.
Berk’s first two abstracts accepted for presentation, outlined the research results of human subject experiments and the consumption of dark “healthy” chocolate (70% cacao) to enhanced sensory response effects on brain frequency changes. Both dark chocolate experiments offered evidence of positive association between the consumption of 70% cacao and improvement in brain function and efficacy. The third abstract of Berk’s research, focused on the positive happiness benefits of humor associated mirthful laughter on the brain.
A fourth abstract on results of a Pilot Study conducted, demonstrated the benefits of positive affect laughter on reducing detrimental inflammatory blood biomarkers levels. The results of this study were presented by Dr. Gurinder Bains, Principal Investigator, who worked with Dr. Berk on his laughter studies.
“Our research findings offer potential clinical and rehabilitative benefits that can be applied to wellness programs for the elderly,” Dr. Bains said. “The cognitive components — learning ability and delayed recall — become more challenging as we age and are essential to older adults for an improved quality of life: mind, body, and spirit. Although older adults have age-related memory deficits, complimentary, enjoyable, and beneficial humor therapies need to be implemented for these individuals.”
Study co-author and long-time psychoneuroimmunology humor researcher, Dr. Lee Berk, added, “It’s simple, the less stress you have the better your memory. Humor reduces detrimental stress hormones like cortisol that decrease memory hippocampal neurons, lowers your blood pressure, and increases blood flow and your mood state. The act of laughter — or simply enjoying some humor — increases the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, which provides a sense of pleasure and reward. These positive and beneficial neurochemical changes, in turn, make the immune system function better. There are even changes in brain wave activity towards what’s called the "gamma wave band frequency", which also amp up memory and recall. So, indeed, laughter is turning out to be not only a good medicine, but also a memory enhancer adding to our quality of life.”
Berk stated, “We have reached a new milestone in the growth of the Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions research culture where all three research studies we submitted from our current research activities were accepted for presentation at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2016 annual meetings. In addition, a fourth research study submitted by LLU-SAHP’s Dr. Gurinder Bains was also accepted for presentation. This is an unprecedented achievement!" 
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology annual meetings are multidisciplinary, scientific meetings that feature lectures, pre-meeting workshops, oral and poster presentation sessions, and attendance of numerous large scientific companies as exhibitors showing their latest in new equipment, instruments and supplies for medical and scientific research, as well as publication vendors of medical and scientific journals and educational books and publications used in teaching and research labs for basic and human experimental studies.
Experimental Biology is an annual meeting comprised of over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing six sponsoring societies (the American Association of Anatomists, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Nutrition, the American Physiological Society, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and, the American Society for Investigative Pathology), and multiple guest societies from all parts of the world. 
The typical number health care professional and scientific researchers from all over the world range between 20,000 and 25,000 attendees.

About Loma Linda University Health

Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University’s eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center’s six hospitals and more than 900 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, Loma Linda University Health is a global leader in education, research and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, Loma Linda University Health is a faith-based health system with a mission "to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ."

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