Extroverts use heads in soccer

IN BRIEF

Sports

December 06, 2007

Heading the ball is a staple move in soccer, but it comes with a price: possible concussions. As coaches, trainers and doctors debate how to deal with the risk, researchers are drawing closer to understanding who is more likely to stick his or her neck out.

Extroverts, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, are more willing to go head-first into the ball.

A team led by Frank Webbe, psychology professor at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, administered two psychological tests to 60 teenage and adult male soccer players -- one measuring personality traits such as extroversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness, the other sensation-seeking behavior. A group of 20 non-soccer-playing athletes with minimal experience in contact sports acted as a control.

Players more apt to head balls had higher levels of extroversion on the scales. Tall players also headed the ball more often, but there was no correlation between this group and extroversion. "If you have to counsel a player who heads the ball a lot because they're tall, that's easy to change," Webbe says. "But if this is part of their personality dynamics, that's harder. ... They see themselves as aggressive players who are willing to take risks."

Los Angeles Times

Sinuses

Saline irrigation helps with chronic nasal conditions, study finds

Putting your nose through a power wash might not seem appealing, but it does help people with chronic nasal and sinus conditions, a new study reports.

University of Michigan researchers tested saline sprays -- in which saline solution is puffed into the nostrils -- against a more rigorous nasal-cleaning process called saline irrigation. The study, published in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology, included 127 adults with chronic nasal and sinus symptoms who used either saline spray or saline irrigation for eight weeks.

Patients using saline irrigation were much less congested than those treated with saline spray, the researchers found. It probably works by thinning mucus, decreasing swelling in the nasal passages and removing debris, bacteria, allergens and inflammatory substances from the nose, says lead researcher Melissa A. Pynnonen, a clinical assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Michigan Health System.

Want to try it? You can watch an instructional video at salineirrigation.com/instructions.html.

Los Angeles Times

Pregnancy

Nation's teen birth rate rises for the first time in 14 years

The nation's teen birth rate has risen for the first time in 14 years, according to a new government report.

The birth rate had been dropping since 1991. The decline had slowed in recent years, but government statisticians said yesterday that it jumped 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

"It took us by surprise," said Stephanie Ventura of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a co-author of the report.

The birth data for 2006 also showed births to unmarried mothers hit a new record high, and the overall birth rate has climbed to its highest level since 1971.

The teen increase was based on the 15-to-19 age group, which accounted for about 99 percent of the more than 440,000 births to teens in 2006.

The rate rose to 41.9 live births per 1,000 females in that age group, up from 40.5 in 2005.

Associated Press

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