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Discovered: The writing diet, how blogging helps mental health, licorice that's good for your teeth, promising cancer and herpes treatments, and why parents treat their kids like dogs.

  • How to lose weight by only lifting a finger. Continuing our Week After New Year's diet tip hotline, we have found the most appealing weight-loss tactic of all time. One that involves very little moving. Writing for 15 minutes about important values, like religion, music or relationships, caused women to lose more weight over the next few months than those who did no writing at all, found research published in Pyschological Science. Participants kept these values diaries lost an average of 3.41 pounds, compared to the 2.76 pounds gained by the control group. This is the exercise dream, folks. [Eureka]
  • Blogging as a stress reliever for teens. Having a public blog helped teens deal with social anxiety more than keeping a private diary, according to an American Psychological Association. And, opening up those entries to public comment and discussion helped the participants even more."Almost all responses to our participants' blog messages were supportive and positive in nature," said study author Azy Barak. (Note: bloggers who blog for a living, answer to blogger bosses, and deal with commenter trolls were obviously not included this study.) [American Psychological Association]
  • Licorice that's good for your teeth. Of course the worst tasting candy on the planet would have health benefits. Scientists have found that two parts of the licorice root -- probably not the part actually used in candy -- fight the bacteria that causes gum disease and tooth decay. Chew on that. But not too much, because we hear 2 ounces a day for at least two weeks will do bad things to your heart.  [American Chemical Society]
  • Two promising treatments for two horrible diseases.  On the herpes front, we have progress toward a genital herpes vaccine thanks to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "We were partially successful against half of the equation," said researchers. The scientists partially prevented simplex 1 (the cold sore kind) but had no luck with simplex 2 (the painful down there kind). So, almost kind of sort of time to celebrate. On the cancer front, researchers discovered that Lithocholic acid killed several types of cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Other treatments, like chemo, nuke everything in their paths. But wait, it gets even better: "LCA doesn't just kill individual cancer cells. It could also prevent the entire tumor from growing," said senior author Vladimir Titorenko. [Eureka and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases]
  • Dogs and kids are basically the same thing. Science has discovered why some parents talk to their kids and dogs the same way. Dogs and children respond to social cues in the same way. "Increasing evidence supports the notion that humans and dogs share some social skills, with dogs' social-cognitive functioning resembling that of a six-month to two-year-old child in many respects," explained researcher József Topál. This does not make it okay to play fetch with your kids. [The Telegraph]

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