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August 2, 2019

Weekend reads: More seniors are binge drinking, study finds

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads 

    The seven-year-old who had 526 teeth removed. A 7-year-old boy was admitted to a hospital in Chennai, India, last month due to jaw pain. That's when doctors discovered the boy had 526 teeth inside his mouth in a sac embedded in the child's lower jaw, according to Prathiba Ramani, head of oral and maxillofacial pathology at Saveetha Dental College and Hospital. Doctors then removed the sac, and later spent four to five hours emptying the sac to confirm its contents. Inside they found 526 teeth. According to Ramani, the boy suffered from a rare condition called compound composite odontoma, and that the cause of the condition is unclear. The boy was released from the hospital three days after his surgery and is expected to make a fully recovery, Ramani said.

    Older people are binge drinking more. About 10.6% of adults ages 65 and older binge drink, marking a noticeable increase compared to previous years, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. According to Tara Narula, a cardiologist and assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Zucker School of Medicine, about 7% to 9% of older adults were binge drinkers in previous decades. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks at a time for men and four or more drinks at a time for women. In addition, older binge drinkers were more likely than non-binge drinkers to use tobacco or cannabis, the study found.

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    Your kids might hate your beard, according to research. Citing a new study, Nell Greenfieldboyce writes for NPR that "young children think [beards are] really really unattractive." For the study, researchers showed 470 kids, who ranged from toddlers to teenagers, a series of photos. Each pair of photos showed a bearded man and a man with a clean-shaven face. "Then we just ask kids, 'Which man looks stronger?' 'Which man looks older?' 'Which man looks best?'" said Nicole Nelson, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia. The results revealed that young kids associated beards with being stronger and older, but it also found that children are largely "anti-beard" until they reach puberty. "As early as one year nine months, they dislike beards," said Nelson, "and kids, as they got older, up to about 13 years, continue to dislike beards even more." However, the researchers found that children with fathers who have beards were more likely to like facial hair, Nelson added.

    How tuberculosis patients were confused as vampires. In November 1990, investigators removed the remains of 27 people from the Walton Family Cemetery in Virginia. According to Nicholas Bellantoni, a retired archaeologist who worked on the case, grave No. 4 stood out from the rest. "Every one was in good anatomical position . . . except this one individual, JB 55," he said. "The chest had been broken into, and the . . . skull was decapitated and moved away," he said. Years later, DNA testing revealed that the man was named John Barber and he was likely 55 when he died. Further research revealed that Barber had tuberculosis and, as a result, was likely believed to be a vampire.  Two-hundred years ago, people with tuberculosis were sometimes thought to be vampires because of the way they wasted away and bled from the disease. After death, the so-called vampires were exhumed, usually by family, and their hearts were removed and burned to prevent further disease. "This was being done out of fear and out of love," Bellantoni said. "People were dying in their families … they wanted to protect those that were still living."

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