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The best medicine

The old adage 'Laughter is the best medicine' may actually have some standing in fact. We don't encourage the use of a few balloon animals and a pie in the face to help someone get over a particularly debilitating disease, although seeing your friends' attempts at dressing up like Krusty the Clown may help the healing process. For women hoping to have a baby through IVF, a few comedians falling over a banana may just result in a bun or two in the oven after having fertility treatment.

In Israel, Shevach Friedler, based at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre in Zrifin, found that the rate of women successfully getting pregnant at their medical centre increased when patients attended the clinic on days when a clown performed a set routine for them, the Guardian reveals. Women were 16% more likely to become pregnant through the experiment.

'During recovery from the procedure, each woman had a 15-minute visit from the clown, who performed a specific routine created by Friedler – who has studied movement and mime – and a colleague.'

'The researchers found that, compared to women who came to the clinic on a 'non-clown' day, those who'd had a laugh were more than twice as likely to become pregnant, when other factors such as age, type of infertility and the number of embryos transferred, were taken into account.'

It's just a pity that the child created in question might not later grow up to appreciate clowns in the same way, when his parents provide one for his 11th birthday in an attempt to 'appear cool'.

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