GeneFo, an internet resource on genetic diseases, is offering a free online lecture featuring humorist and author Yvonne deSousa, who has a neurodegenerative illness. The topic of the Sept. 27 discussion is how humor and laughter can help you to improve well-being and quality of life and to better manage symptoms.
The lecture is titled, “Using Laughter and Humor to Improve Your Parkinson’s Management: Physically, Emotionally, Socially.”
Yvonne deSousa, nominated for a WEGO Health Hilarious Patient Leader Award, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009.
“Instead of crying, I cracked up,” she says on her website. “And I felt better. This was going to be a long ironic road. But I learned early that to make it down this road, I would need my sense of humor.”
“You have to laugh to keep your sanity,” she added.
The webinar will discuss how humor in patients’ lives helps to better manage symptoms and improve emotional well-being and the ability to cope. Humor also helps in social and work settings.
Laughter has long been known to be beneficial for health. Some benefits include better immune and hormone responses, increased tolerance of pain, and decreased anxiety and depression. All of these factors affect quality of life with Parkinson’s disease (PD), along with many other chronic conditions.
One question is how a PD patient can add humor to their daily lives. GeneFo will offer the webinar to explore answers to this question. The course will give practical advice about how to see the funny side of situations, and how to relieve stress and have a good laugh even while living with a complex condition such as PD.
A research project led by Dr. Theodore Brown that currently is recruiting PD patients also will be discussed. The program assesses how laughter therapy affects mood, stress, and self-efficacy. These types of studies aim to promote laughter therapy as part of standard care protocols for PD and other neurological and chronic conditions.
Dr. Yael Wilnai founded GeneFo as a one-stop internet resource for patients with genetic diseases. Up to 15% of all Parkinson’s cases are thought to be caused by defective genes. GeneFo’s goal is to allow patients and medical experts to connect and increase their ability to better manage a given illness and to access the most up-to-date information on new treatments and clinical trials. PD is one of the diseases the website covers.