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Healthy Laughs Roundup

February 10, 2006

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

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
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.