Occasions for laughter and dementia risk: Findings from a six-year cohort study

Yu Wang, Kokoro Shirai, Tetsuya Ohira, Mayumi Hirosaki, Naoki Kondo, Kenji Takeuchi, Chikae Yamaguchi, Yudai Tamada, Katsunori Kondo, Dorina Cadar, Hiroyasu Iso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Currently, there is little evidence on the relationship between laughter and the risk of dementia, and since laughter is mainly a social behavior, we aimed to examine the association between various occasions for laughter and the risk of dementia in Japanese older adults. Methods: We draw upon 6-year follow-up data from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study, including 12 165 independent older adults aged 65 years or over. Occasions for laughter were assessed using a questionnaire, while dementia was diagnosed using the standardized dementia scale of the long-term care insurance system in Japan. Cox proportional hazards models were estimated, yielding hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: The multivariable hazard ratio of dementia incidence for all participants in the groups for high versus low variety of occasions for laughter was 0.84 (95% CI: 0.72–0.98, P for trend <0.001). A greater variety of occasions for laughter was associated with a lower risk of dementia 0.78 (95% CI: 0.63–0.96, P for trend <0.001) among women, but was less pronounced for men, with significant associations only for the medium group. Laughing during conversations with friends, communicating with children or grandchildren, and listening to the radio were primarily associated with decreased risk. Conclusion: A greater variety of laughter occasions in individual and social settings was associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2022; 22: 392–398.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-398
Number of pages7
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May


  • cohort studies
  • dementia
  • laughter
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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