Medi Watch

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 March, 2007, 12:00am

Atkins tops slimming tests

Overweight women following the controversial low-carb, high-fat Atkins diet did better in the short term and after a year than those on two other popular plans and even a government-approved diet, a Stanford University study has found. They also had slightly better blood pressure and cholesterol readings after a year. A Harvard study last year of thousands of women had similar results, AP reports. Atkins dieters lost an average of 4.5kg - almost twice as much as the next best, who followed the government diet. The diets were randomly assigned to more than 300 women. Given the dieters' initial average weight of almost 86kg, food-policy researcher Kelly Brownell says none of the diets works very well.

Fitness boosts memory cells

Exercise seems to boost brainpower by building new cells in the brain region linked to memory, Columbia University researchers concluded after tests on mice and people. The fitter people become, the more blood flows to the dentate gyrus region of the hippocampus that suffers age-related memory decline from about 30, Reuters reports. The researchers say they now want to identify which exercise is most beneficial to 'improve cognition and reduce normal memory loss'.

Indian managers put sperm on ice

A growing number of young male executives in India are freezing their sperm so they can pursue careers and have children much later, according to a series of recent reports. The Times of India reports that up to 60 per cent of long-term deposits at Delhi's only commercial sperm bank are now from healthy young men who don't want children until they're professionally established. With India's boom in outsourcing, many jobs entail overnight shifts to serve the US and Europe, resulting in drastic lifestyle changes, AFP reports.

Who's a clever baba then?

Baby talk may send some adults running from the room, but it isn't silly - it appears to help babies begin to develop language skills and bond with their parents. A preliminary study by Hiroshima University researchers found that the frontal area of babies' brains becomes significantly more active in response to baby talk, reports. It doesn't appear to matter what is said so much as the emotional tone used.

Jason Sankey is a tennis professional