["Does happiness help healing?" Immune response of hospitalized children may change during visits of the Smiling Hospital Foundation's Artists]

Orv Hetil. 2011 Oct 23;152(43):1739-44. doi: 10.1556/OH.2011.29228.
[Article in Hungarian]


Psychoneuroimmunologic studies on positive emotions are few, and their clinical relevance is limited.

Aims: This "SHoRT" (Smiling Hospital Research Team) study evaluates the effects that Smiling Hospital artists have on hospitalized children.

Methods: Blood samples were taken in a non-painful way through branules in an accredited Infectology Ward, 30 minutes before and 1 hour after a visit of tale tellers, puppeteers and handicraft artists. 24 children were visited and 9 were included in the control group. Blood lymphocyte counts and Th1/Th2 cytokine levels were determined. Artists evaluated their effect on a subjective scale.

Results: In the visited group, the increase of lymphocytes was 8.43% higher, the decrease was 12.45% lower, and the proportion of children showing increased lymphocyte counts was more increased. Changes were more marked after more successful visits. Authors found non-significant, still considerable changes in interferon-γ level (p < 0.055) and in Th1/Th2 cytokine ratios.

Conclusions: This pediatric study suggests that immunological changes may develop when more attention is given to hospitalized children.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized* / psychology
  • Child, Hospitalized* / statistics & numerical data
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Foundations
  • Happiness*
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Infant
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukins / blood
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha / blood
  • Male
  • Smiling*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Time Factors


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma