Katy Guest: Spare me all the New Year advice

Urban Notebook: Put down the Ryvita and listen to the geniuses with the white mice
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The Independent Online

It's not often that I commend the investigations of the University of the Bleedin' Obvious, but the last week's findings from hard-working scientists all over the world demand our attention. In reports published by dedicated brainboxes from Michigan to, um, Special K, certain universal truths became clear: New Year diets are bad for you; detox programmes don't work; size 14 women are happier than size 10 women; we worry too much. So, for once, put down the Ryvita and listen to the geniuses with the white mice.

The most scientific of all the research (in that it involved experiments and a lab) came from Michigan University, which found that mice on a calorie-restricted diet were more likely to die when injected with flu. "Mice are a good model for... people," they insisted. The least (in that it involved asking users of a website called www.reallyworried.com whether or not they worry) found that the average Briton spends two hours and 15 minutes a day, just fretting about stuff. Meanwhile, Special K "discovered" that "being a size zero wouldn't necessarily bring you happiness."

Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs. And I almost fell off my chair when I read the latest report from Voice of Young Science: it said that when the word "detox" is used to sell "everything from foot patches to hair straighteners", it is usually (they didn't say always) pure nonsense.

Do we really need flimsy science to tell us that it's not important to be thin in winter? Has hibernation never occurred to the British public? If so, then please will the man in the tight Lycra who was running around a Kent field on Sunday please go home, order pizza and read the research? The marathon is not for another four months. And jogging at minus two degrees was clearly, visibly, not good for you, mate.

Golfers' handicap

Sad news for the men in Pringle sweaters, as doctors in Norwich reveal that golf can actually make you go deaf. Still, at least you won't have to hear the musical golf-ball bottle openers, or read out those little books of golfing wit, or relate to any other of the "gifts for the golfer in your life" that seem to be the eternal lot of any man over 40 who ever picked up a club.

Who does he think he is?

We're all used to GPs getting younger; but when even Dr Who is younger than you, that's when you know you're really past it. The appointment of Matt Smith in the role is a bitter pill. And can a 26-year-old really play the weary cantankerousness that is surely the Doctor's defining characteristic?