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Clown doctor hopes government cash injection can make being silly serious business

Posted by: Ellen Feely | 23 October, 2012 - 11:03 AM
CLOWNING AROUND: Dr Peter Spitzer. (Photo: Nick Cubbin)

A clown doctor hopes new research could lead to an injection of government funding to help make being silly serious business.

Speaking with Neil Mitchell, Dr Peter Spitzer, Co-Founder and Medical Director of The Humour Foundation said the research showed the difference ‘court jesters’ can make in a serious situation.

The ‘only doctor silly enough’ to also work as a clown is among over 50 professional performers trained to work in critical care in 21 hospitals around Australia.

Dr Spitzer said patients exposed to clown doctors enjoyed a range of medical benefits, including reduced anxiety, an increase in endorphins, a decrease in stress hormones, and improvements to the immune system and respiratory tract.

Dr Spitzer said the foundation relied on private funding, and are only able to be in major hospitals three days a week, 50 weeks a year. He hoped they could increase clowns’ presence in hospitals to five to seven days every week.

He said the research presented at a children’s healthcare conference yesterday, which showed physical and physiological improvements experienced by young patients exposed to clown doctors, showed more research was needed.

LISTEN: Co-Founder and Medical Director of The Humour Foundation Dr Peter Spitzer speaks with Neil Mitchell:

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