Money no help in losing weight!

 Researchers studied 2,407 overweight and obese people enrolled in weight-loss schemes at their jobs. Participants were divided into three groups. The first received $60 for keeping a 5 percent weight loss for a year. The second agreed to pay about $100; the money would be returned if they lost 5 percent of their weight, and they would get bonuses for losing more. The third, a control group, was offered only $20, a reward for staying in the program for a year.

The study, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that money had very little effect. The group that was offered $60 lost an average of just 1.4 pounds, while the controls lost 1.8. Those who made the $100 deposit dropped an average of 1.9 pounds more than the controls, but, the authors write, people motivated enough to risk their own money would most likely have lost weight with any program. The researchers acknowledge that this was not a randomized controlled experiment. Still, they write, it is informative about how programs work — or fail.

John Cawley, said that while money was ineffective in these cases, there is surely some amount of money that would persuade people to lose weight.

Surgery and sore throat

One annoying consequence of surgery is the painful sore throat that follows recovery from anesthesia, but a small study suggests a simple and cheap way to reduce the risk: gargle with licorice just before going under.

A group of Indian doctors decided to test it for treating postoperative sore throat. In their study,  they divided 40 patients undergoing an elective spinal operation into two groups. Twenty patients gargled with a licorice solution five minutes before anesthesia, and 20 gargled with plain water.  There was no difference between the groups in age, sex, weight or duration of anesthesia, but only four of the licorice group reported soreness on swallowing right after waking, compared with 15 from the group that gargled with water. By the end of 24 hours, nine water garglers, but only two in the licorice group, still found it painful to swallow.

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