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An Open Letter to Tom Hanks

Hi Tom!

First of all - I love your work. Over the years, your appearances have amazed me. You've made my heart ache, you've made me think, and most of all, you've made me laugh. In the wake of your announcement that you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, it's the laughter I want to talk to you about.

As a talented comic actor, you know how humor can be used to accomplish many things. Laughter brings people together, creating bonds between people who might otherwise have nothing in common. Humor can make communication easier, by lowering the barriers raised by class or socio-economic status: we are all the same when we laugh.

Humor is powerful. Ridicule can topple the powerful, comfort the down trodden, and cause the comfortable and complacent to reconsider everything they thought they knew about the world.

You knew this, of course. But did you know that humor can actually make managing your diabetes easier?  It's true. For many years now - just about as long as you've been making great films, actually - scientists have been delving into the physical responses our bodies make to emotional stimuli. It turns out that laughter - all laughter, from a weak chuckle to pee-your-pants guffaws - has many positive effects on the body.

When you laugh, your blood pressure will come down. Laughter plays a role in thinning the linings of your blood vessels, which your doctor will tell you is great news if you're worried about your heart health. And perhaps most relevant to you right now, laughter can help minimize the blood sugar spikes that occur after you've had a meal.  Effective blood sugar control is easier when you can smooth out those post-meal spikes.

Laughter's role in diabetes management is complementary. It's meant to enhance and augment the advice you're getting from your physician, nutritionist, and the other members of your health care team - not replace it! Laughter does more than make you feel better. You'll actually be a little better every time you laugh. I think that's pretty amazing, and I thought you would too.

Warm Regards,

Karyn Buxman

One of Your Biggest Fans

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