Answer Man

Answer Man: Twins couldn’t pull their weight in record book

Q. I have twin daughters who were born 41 years ago at Loring Air Force Base, Maine. I know it is extremely late to be asking, but I would like to know what kind of record they might have set. They weighed 9 pounds, 9 ounces, and 9 pounds, 13 ounces, for a total of 19 pounds, 6 ounces.

— Delores Gill, of Freeburg

A. While you probably couldn’t wait to get that load off your feet, you may be stunned to learn that in the Guinness world of records you actually delivered a pair of relative lightweights.

In June 2008, the Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., announced that Sean William and Abigail Rose Maynard had become the proud parents of twins that tipped the scales at 23 pounds and 1 ounce — a 10-pound, 14-ounce son and 12-pound, 3-ounce girl.

But as big as they were, even they didn’t set a record. In doing research on this heavy topic for the press, the hospital found that Patricia and John Haskin entered the world on Feb. 20, 1924, in Arkansas at a combined 27 pounds, 12 ounces. (As one-time St. Louis Blues announcer Ken Wilson might have said, “Oh, babies!”) The hospital could find no heavier set of twins born since 1900.

However, you can take comfort in knowing that your girls were well above average. According to statistical tables, twins born at 40 weeks usually average 7 pounds, 2 ounces each. But since twins generally arrive three or so weeks early, they usually clock in at an average 5 pounds, 5 ounces each.

Q. My son is beginning to lose his baby teeth. I don’t want to seem like a skinflint compared to his friends’ parents, so I’m curious if you know what the going rate of the Tooth Fairy is these days.

— P.D., of New Athens

A. I guess I’d have to brush up on current trends if I had kids. While I was happy to find a shiny dime or quarter under my pillow, the “tooth” is that Illinois youngsters these days are hauling in an average of $2.89 for their brief discomfort. And even that is miserly compared to a national average of $4.36, according to Delta Dental’s 2014 Tooth Fairy survey.

If you’re interested, the Tooth Fairy visited 81 percent of Illinois homes last year. Two out of three children ages 6-12 say they believe in the Tooth Fairy, about the same number as say they believe in Santa Claus. And the kids apparently are grateful — only 13 percent of parents say they were told that the Tooth Scrooge should loosen up her purse strings a little more.

There’s Hope: In recent years, I occasionally have received pleas for help from people trying to trace their family tree but who need records from Hope Cemetery in Belleville. Since 2009, this has been a difficult task because the cemetery has been under “temporary” state receivership, the victim of cloudy titles, missing burial funds and lost transactions.

Now, your work may have become much easier. Just this week, the friendly folks at the Belleville Public Library tell me they have just received a set of the cemetery’s burial and lot records. Dig them up at 121 E. Washington St.

Nutty idea: If you haven’t heard, doctors are starting to say “Nuts!” to the established ideas of preventing peanut allergies in children.

In 2000, for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents withhold peanuts from children at risk of allergies until at least age 3. But just this week, researchers announced that babies likely to develop allergies cut their risk by an average of 81 percent if they were regularly fed small amounts of peanuts from infancy on.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the findings were “without precedent” and that they could transform how doctors approach the treatment of food allergies. However, experts stress that all parents of at-risk children should attempt such a regimen only with a doctor’s recommendation and ongoing supervision because such allergies can be life-threatening.

Food for thought: Scientists at Yale University think they may have uncovered the reason why marijuana users commonly suffer “the munchies.”

They say that when people eat, certain cells in the brain’s hypothalamus start producing a hormone that eventually tells the body it’s full.

But in pot smokers, this process gets turned on its head. Tests on mice found that a marijuana-like substance sparked those same brain cells to produce a hormone that actually increased appetite. Although more work is needed to fully explain the mechanics involved, “we were shockingly surprised,” lead researcher Tamas Horvath told “The Scientist.”

Science matters: If you haven’t discovered it yet, the Nine Network (KETC, Channel 9) recently launched a TV science magazine entitled “Science Matters.”

Produced and hosted by Jim Kirchherr, the weekly show features a locally produced story along with pieces from other PBS stations around the country. It can be seen at 10 p.m. Wednesdays with rebroadcasts at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday and 10:30 p.m. the following Wednesday.

Today’s trivia

Which Oscar-winning actress once was forced to have a psychological evaluation before accepting one of her movie roles?

Answer to Thursday’s trivia: Although Mount Harvard and Mount Yale sound like they might be part of some Ivy League mountain range in the Northeast, they are actually part of the Collegiate Peaks in the San Isabel National Forest northwest of Buena Vista, Colo. Mount Harvard was named in 1869 by members of the first Harvard Mining School class as they were traveling with their professor, Joseph Dwight Whitney, for whom Mount Whitney (the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States) is named. At 14,421 feet, Mount Harvard is the fourth tallest mountain in the lower 48 and the tallest peak east of its longitude. Just 19 feet shorter, Mount Yale is named after Whitney’s alma mater. Mount Princeton, a couple of feet taller than Yale, is nearby.

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