BEIJING, June 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Unless you're a
regular at the late-night pub scene (think drunken brawl), you may find it
difficult to believe that men often bite men when they fight.
"It's fairly horrendous, but that's what they do," said study leader Patricia Eadie of St. James's Hospital in
Dublin, Ireland. "It's not just here in Ireland."
Recent research revealed that 5 percent to 20 percent
of bite wounds treated in urban emergency rooms in the United States were caused
by humans, making human bites the third most common mammalian bite in this
Eadie and her colleagues present statistics from
their recent study about human-on-human bite wounds in the July issue of the
Emergency Medicine Journal, although the overall incidence is unknown.
The medical team analyzed the charts from 92 patients
with human-bite injuries treated by the plastic surgery service at St. James's
Hospital between January 2003 and December 2005.
They focused on so-called
occlusive bites, meaning a skin chomp, such as the 1997 Mike Tyson-Evander
Holyfield boxing match when Tyson bit off a portion of Holyfield's ear.
The other type, a "fight bite," occurs when someone's
fist strikes an opponent's tooth, breaking the skin of the hand and possibly
harming the knuckle joint. Alcohol consumption was reported in nearly 90
percent of the injuries, with 70 percent of bites occurring on a weekend or
"The majority of these injuries occur in young males
following (drinking) a lot of alcohol," Eadie told LiveScience. "One of the
problems is that the bars all close at the same time. So there's a lot of
discharge of people out onto the streets who have had a lot to drink, and I
suppose tempers flare up very easily; fights happen."
Seven out of 10 bites were to the face, and most of
these involved the upper rim of the ear. Other facial targets included the tip
of the nose.