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6 Ways Babies Can Be Dangerous

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Biologically, we’re wired to adore babies. They smell terrific, their gummy smiles are delightful, and they’re a lot of fun to shop for. But not all infants subscribe to a peaceful philosophy. Some tiny terrors can wind up lashing out physically, causing harm to their adult handlers. Here are six proven ways poop-panted antagonists can inflict damage.

1. THE CORNEAL ABRASION

You wouldn’t think a baby’s tiny fingers could possibly pose any danger—but that foolish assumption could put your eyesight at risk. Babies tend to have a fascination with glasses, reaching for corrective lenses out of curiosity; other times, their arms can spasmodically shoot out into the nearest soft tissue. Parental reflexes are often too slow to avoid a direct hit to the eye, causing corneal abrasions and even subconjunctival hemorrhages. One mother, Kara Kastan, told The New York Times in 2012 that she was jabbed in the eye by her son twice. She had to wear an eyepatch. The baby did not care.

2. THE HEAD BUTT

Though slight of frame, babies wield an incredibly powerful cranium, their solid skulls able to crash into unsuspecting noses or teeth with substantial force. Penny Blatt, wife of New York Times columnist David Wallis, had her nose broken in two places by their son. Pediatricians believe head butts can be a sign of frustration when infants are unable to verbalize their feelings.

3. THE EARRING GRAB

What could be more seductive to a baby than a shiny, dangling earring just inches from its grasp? New York City plastic surgeon Norman Day claims he's seen several patients whose earlobes have been ripped in half after an infant has clamped down on jewelry and tugged. Other surgeons report similar cases, particularly when the mother is wearing hoop earrings.

4. AGGRESSIVE PINCHING

A baby should always be handled as though you were holding a live lobster: babies can exert significant pinching power that’s often directed at the neck of their guardian. A baby that grabs a flap of skin and tugs can create a sunburn-like irritation. Experts say babies are just being curious and want to see how you react to the assault. If you exaggerate and jump back, it might amuse—and encourage—the roughhousing. Instead, gently release their grip from your Adam’s apple and tell them it hurts.

5. PROVOKING AN ALLERGIC REACTION

UK mother Joanne Mackie made news in 2009 when it was reported that she had an allergic reaction to her own son, James, breaking out in blisters upon contact. It was the result of a rare autoimmune disease, oemphigoid gestationis, that Mackie developed while carrying James. After a course of steroids, the reaction—which only affects one in 50,000 women—subsided.

6. THE PROJECTILE

As a baby begins to flirt with toddlerhood at the age of two, their growing ability to grasp objects can sometimes result in toys going airborne. Sarah Rosengarten was watching her son, Carter, play with Matchbox cars when he decided to test his pitching skills: the car crashed into Sarah’s jaw, resulting in a hairline fracture.

For once, a baby’s casual disregard for the safety of others had a benefit: Sarah’s CT scan detected a tumor that led to a diagnosis of kidney failure. She successfully received a transplant.

All images courtesy of iStock.

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Why You Might Not Want to Order Tea or Coffee On Your Next Flight
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A cup of tea or coffee at 40,000 feet may sound like a great way to give yourself an extra energy boost during a tiring trip, but it might be healthier to nap away your fatigue—or at least wait until hitting ground to indulge in a caffeine fix. Because, in addition to being tepid and watery, plane brew could be teeming with germs and other harmful life forms, according to Business Insider.

Multiple studies and investigations have taken a closer look at airplane tap water, and the results aren’t pretty—or appetizing. In 2002, The Wall Street Journal conducted a study that looked at water samples taken from 14 different flights from 10 different airlines. Reporters discovered “a long list of microscopic life you don’t want to drink, from Salmonella and Staphylococcus to tiny insect eggs," they wrote.

And they added, "Worse, contamination was the rule, not the exception: Almost all of the bacteria levels were tens, sometimes hundreds, of times above U.S. government limits."

A 2004 study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that water supplies on 15 percent of 327 national and international commercial aircrafts were contaminated to varying degrees [PDF]. This all led up to the 2011 Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, an EPA initiative to make airlines clean up. But in 2013, an NBC investigation found that at least one out of every 10 commercial U.S. airplanes still had issues with water contamination.

Find out how airplane water gets so gross, and why turning water into coffee or tea isn’t enough to kill residual germs by watching Business Insider’s video below.

[h/t Business Insider]

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Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It
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Dyslexia is often described as trying to read letters as they jump around the page. Because of its connections to reading difficulties and trouble in school, the condition is often blamed on the brain. But according to a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the so-called learning disability may actually start in the eyes.

As The Guardian reports, a team of French scientists say they've discovered a key physiological difference between the eyes of those with dyslexia and those without it. Our eyes have tiny light-receptor cells called rods and cones. The center of a region called the fovea is dominated by cones, which are also responsible for color perception.

Just as most of us have a dominant hand, most have a dominant eye too, which has more neural connections to the brain. The study of 60 people, divided evenly between those with dyslexia and those without, found that in the eyes of non-dyslexic people, the arrangement of the cones is asymmetrical: The dominant eye has a round, cone-free hole, while the other eye has an unevenly shaped hole. However, in people with dyslexia, both eyes have the same round hole. So when they're looking at something in front of them, such as a page in a book, their eyes perceive exact mirror images, which end up fighting for visual domination in the brain. This could explain why it's sometimes impossible for a dyslexic person to distinguish a "b" from a "d" or an "E" from a "3".

These results challenge previous research that connects dyslexia to cognitive abilities. In a study published earlier this year, people with the condition were found to have a harder time remembering musical notes, faces, and spoken words. In light of the new findings, it's unclear whether this is at the root of dyslexia or if growing up with vision-related reading difficulties affects brain plasticity.

If dyslexia does come down to some misarranged light-receptors in the eye, diagnosing the disorder could be as simple as giving an eye exam. The explanation could also make it easy to treat without invasive surgery. In the study, the authors describe using an LED lamp that blinks faster than the human eye can perceive to "cancel out" one of the mirror images perceived by dyslexic readers, leaving only one true image. The volunteers who read with it called it a "magic lamp." The researchers hope to further experiment with it to see see if it's a viable treatment option for the millions of people living with dyslexia.

[h/t The Guardian]

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