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Healthy Laughs Roundup

February 10, 2006

They say laughter is the best medicine, and now scientists have proven them right.


Laugh yourself healthy. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

At last! An exercise you can perform while sitting on a couch with a remote! A study in the journal Heart reports that watching segments of comedy films increased arterial blood flow significantly in 19 out of 20 volunteers. The increase was equivalent to a short bout of aerobic exercise. By contrast, sad films reduced blood flow.

In other health news, UCLA researchers have found that two compounds found in licorice root inhibit a type of bacteria that causes cavities. Licorice root has been used for centuries not only as a flavoring and sweetener, but also as a cough medicine, laxative and stomach ulcer treatment. If follow-up research shows that it is effective against cavity-causing bacteria, it may find its way into toothpastes and mouthwashes.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.