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Friday, 28 December, 2001, 11:30 GMT
Keep fit with a Christmas kiss
Couple kissing
A kisser's pulse rate and blood pressure rises
Kissing under the mistletoe could be a good way to compensate for eating too many mince pies, it has emerged.

Scientists at Thinktank, Birmingham's new museum of science and discovery, have calculated the average person burns off 26 calories in a one-minute smooch.

Dr George Foster, scientific adviser at the centre, said kissing - which scientists call philematology - can be good for your body.

"Kissing can be good for you," he said. "It's a way of letting someone know you like them and it tells you that you are liked.

Kissing facts
The average person spends two weeks of their life kissing
Eskimos, Polynesians and Malaysians rub noses instead of kissing
A standard greeting in Europe is a kiss on both cheeks
Some African tribes kiss the ground where their chief has walked
The longest kiss lasted 29 hours, during a challenge in New York on March 24 1998
"Kissing can have all sorts of strange physiological and psychological effects.

"Your pulse rate goes up, your blood pressure may rise, the pupils in your eyes get bigger and you may breathe more deeply.

"The pleasure centres in your brain become active as neurotransmitters are secreted and your thought processes may become different.

"Many of the effects are very like those when you are excited or surprised and I guess a good kiss may be the reason for both."

Interactive attractions

Two of Thintank's 10 galleries - Things About Me, aimed at seven to 11-year-olds, and Medicine Matters, for older children and adults, feature interactive exhibits to show the workings of the human body.

Thinktank, which opened in September this year, is the main visitor attraction at Birmingham's Millennium Point, England's largest Millennium project outside London.

It has cost 114 million, including 50 million of Millennium Commission lottery funding and 25.6 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

09 Nov 00 | Health
Kissing 'spreads cancer virus'
30 Jun 00 | Education
More than just a kiss
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