What makes a poem touch your heart? New research suggests that poetry that triggers vivid mental images and positive emotions tends to be the most enjoyed. For the study, researchers had more than 400 people read and rate two types of poems — haikus and sonnets. “People disagree on what they like, of course,” said study author Amy Belfi, a postdoctoral fellow in New York University’s department of psychology. But, “while it may seem obvious that individual taste matters in judgments of poetry, we found that despite individual disagreement, it seems that certain factors consistently influence how much a poem will be enjoyed,” she said in an NYU news release. Study co-author G. Gabrielle Starr added that “the vividness of a poem consistently predicted its aesthetic appeal. Therefore, it seems that vividness of mental imagery may be a key component influencing what we like more broadly.” Starr, who was dean of NYU’s College of Arts and Science at the time of the research, is now president of Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. “While limited to poetry, our work sheds light into which components most influence our aesthetic judgments and paves the way for future research investigating how we make such judgments in other domains,” Starr said. The findings were published Nov. 30 in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. More information To…  read on >

The more college football referees know about concussion symptoms, the more confident they are in calling a timeout for a suspected head injury, a new study shows. Researchers surveyed more than 1,300 college football officials during the 2015 season and found that they called an average of one injury timeout for a suspected concussion every four games. Those with greater awareness about concussion symptoms were more confident in making such calls, according to the study published online recently in The Journal of Athletic Training. “Concussion education for officials is important,” said lead author Emily Kroshus, an assistant professor in University of Washington’s department of pediatrics. “When officials are more aware of concussion symptoms, they are more confident in calling injury timeouts,” Kroshus said in a journal news release. “Understanding the determinants of whether officials call an injury timeout when they suspect a concussion has important implications for the design of interventions that better support officials in this role,” she added. Study co-author John Parsons is managing director of the NCAA Sports Science Institute. “One way that officials can help ensure sports safety is to recognize potentially concussed athletes and call injury timeouts appropriately so that athletic trainers or other medical personnel can conduct evaluations,” he said. Said Kroshus: “When officials believe that coaches, athletic trainers, parents, fans, athletes and athletic administrators are equally committed to…  read on >

Good nail care is important, but it’s possible to overdo it. For instance, it turns out that too much clipping can actually be harmful. Trimming nails every day can create stress across the entire nail. Over time, it can change nail shape and even lead to conditions like ingrown toe nails. It’s fine to trim your nails with nail clippers or scissors, but no more than once every week or two. Fingernails should follow the shape of your fingertips, straight across and slightly rounded at the sides. Clip toenails straight across at the level of the toe. File in only one direction to keep nails strong. Here are other care tips: Keep nails clean and dry whenever possible. Moisturize nails and cuticles with hand lotion or cream. Nail polish offers some protection, but don’t use polish remover more than twice a month. Try to avoid all nail products with toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. Avoid prolonged exposure to water when bathing and housecleaning. Protect nails from harsh chemicals by wearing cotton-lined rubber gloves when cleaning. It’s also important to check your nails regularly for warning signs of a problem that merits a doctor visit. Signs to look for include: Discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under a nail. Any change in shape. Any change in thickness — thinner or thicker. Separation of…  read on >

Texting, talking on cellphones, eating, drinking — distractions such as these are a driving hazard, and are more likely to occur among young men, new research shows. People most prone to distracted driving also often tend to think it’s “no big deal” — socially acceptable, the Norwegian study found. These drivers often also felt that they had little control over being distracted. On the other hand, older women, and people who felt they could control their distracted behaviors, were most able to keep their focus where it belongs — on the road ahead. “I found that young men were among the most likely to report distraction,” said study lead author Ole Johansson of Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics. “Others more prone to distraction include those who drive often, and those with neurotic and extroverted personalities.” According to the study authors, the World Health Organization estimates that more than a million lives are lost on roadways each year due to distracted driving. And it only takes two seconds of looking away from the road for risks of an accident to rise significantly, the researchers noted. There was good news, however, from the survey of Norwegian high school students and adults: Overall rates of distracted driving were low, and “fiddling with the radio” was the most common source of distraction. The study was published Nov. 17 in…  read on >

Using marijuana when you have HIV could lead to problems with brain function if you also abuse alcohol or drugs, a new study finds. “People with HIV infection have many reasons to have cognitive dysfunction, from the virus itself to medications for HIV infection and related conditions, particularly as they age,” said lead researcher Richard Saitz. He’s a professor and chair of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. “They also have symptoms like chronic pain and mental health symptoms, and use of marijuana, medically or recreationally, may seem like an option to consider,” Saitz said in a university news release. “But at least among people with substance use disorders, it appears to have detrimental effects on cognitive function.” Little research has been done on the combined effects that alcohol and marijuana have on the brain function of people living with HIV, according to the researchers. “Such an understanding could contribute to efforts to reduce harmful substance use and prevent clinical consequences, particularly in an era in which ‘moderate’ drinking is at times discussed in terms of possible beneficial effects, and in which marijuana is discussed as a relatively safe and even therapeutic substance,” they wrote in the study. To investigate this issue, Saitz and his colleagues analyzed data on 215 adults with HIV who also had a substance abuse problem. The…  read on >

(HealthDay News) — Snoring is not only an annoyance, but also a potential health concern. Chronic snoring may be associated with sleep apnea, which can lead to sleep deprivation and potential heart issues. The National Sleep Foundation says certain exercises may strengthen muscles surrounding the airways and help prevent snoring: Push the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth and slide the tongue backward. Repeat 20 times. Suck your tongue upward so that the entire tongue lies against the roof of your mouth. Repeat 20 times. Force the back of your tongue downward against the floor of your mouth while keeping the tip of your tongue in contact with your bottom front teeth.