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... and call me in the morning.

Apparently, Reader's Digest was right. Laughter is the best medicine.

Most of the filmgoers who sat through Patch Adams might disagree. But Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor members would probably Medical_humor_logo_3 argue that cinematic merits (or lack thereof) aside, the premise of the Robin Williams' flick is valid. Humor helps heal.

AATH, which describes itself as an international community that believes humor can improve people's moods, as well as aid in more serious illnesses, was formed almost 20 years ago by a group of healthcare professionals. Today, its membership includes not only medical personnel, but also those in education, business, faith and, yes, humor fields.

While the organization doesn't limit its exploration of humor benefits to a medical setting, that area is definitely one that has a widespread appeal.

We've all been there, at a critical point trying to decide whether to laugh or cry. It might have been when we heard our physician's diagnosis or, just as likely, weeks later when we got his bill and accompanying (undecipherable) insurance benefits statement. Whenever you have a choice, says AATH, definitely opt for a big ol' belly laugh.

Medical_humor_face_bw_1 Chuckling could be heard in downtown Austin this past weekend as AATH held its annual meeting here. You can watch this video from our local news station, Channel 8, in which conference participants discuss the health benefits of humor. Be warned: You also have to sit through a local furniture store ad, as well as a Dan Rather PSA. Keep smiling, though!

So could you use the AATH argument to claim your cable or dish TV bill as a deductible medical expense? The connection does, after all, provide access to Comedy Central. I don't think so.

The IRS has heard such assertions before, like the one from a high school Spanish teacher who tried to write off his cable bill since he got Telemundo and Univision.

Want to bet who got the last laugh when that audit was over?

Power of pets: In addition to humor, pets also have been shown to help speed up patient recovery time, as noted in this story. And the cats in this Tennessee nursing home are helping brighten the lives of its residents.

Bloggers who know the complete and incredible value of cats are showcased this week in the 100th edition of the Carnival of Cats. I am delighted to report that my post, Dog balls, was chosen to be a part of the celebration, hosted by Bloggin' Outloud. If you haven't read it, don't be deceived by the title; I might be surrounded by dogs, but I am definitely a cat person, as the post reveals.

Money carnival: Also this week, another Don't Mess With Taxes entry was selected for inclusion in the latest Carnival of Investing. My By the numbers, a look at the financial Rule of 72 and my personal Rule of 2, is part of this 10th compilation of notable investing and money topics, hosted this week by My Money Blog.


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