April 13, 2018

Weekend reads: Did eating the world's hottest pepper bring on this man's 'thunderclap' headaches?

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Sore from running? Your chunky shoe may be to blame. Irene Davis, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, has found in her research that heavily-padded shoes can be a pain for runners. Specifically, runners' use of a "chronic, supportive, cushion shoe" can make feet weaker and more prone to injury, Davis said. The solution? Wear flatter shoes. Davis cautions that it will take about a year for your body to adjust, and runners should slowly work up to running with the flatter shoes—starting with brisk walking, then moving to slow miles, with rest days in between runs.

    Grumpy, groggy teens could benefit from later school start time, study suggests. Later school start times could lead to a better school day for teenagers, according to a study by the Sleep Research Society. For the study, researchers observed around 150 students, grades seven through 10, attending a school in Singapore that moved its start time from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. According to the researchers, after the change, students reported an average of 23 more minutes in bed, and the number of students getting at least eight hours of sleep increased from 6.9% to 16.1%. Further, students reported an overall improvement in mood, with less depression, less sleepiness, and feeling "more refreshed" overall throughout the school day.

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Hot take: Eating the world's hottest pepper isn't the coolest idea, according to new case study. Earlier this week, media outlets picked up a case study that described a man who experienced "thunderclap" headaches after eating a Carolina Reaper pepper—the hottest pepper in the world. According to the study, imaging of the man's head and neck showed constriction in certain arteries that can lead to the intense headache. After ruling out other causes, the case study authors hypothesized the pepper may have caused the (thankfully reversible) constriction in those arteries, citing two previous reports that showed cayenne pepper pills used for weight loss have been linked to narrowing of coronary arteries and heart attack. But some neurology experts are skeptical of the theory that the pepper caused the headache, pointing out that there isn't clear evidence that capsaicin leads arteries to narrowing arteries. In fact, David Dodick, professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic, noted capsaicin usually causes blood vessels to dilate rather than constrict.

    This toothbrush will give you feedback on your poor brushing habits. A new toothbrush will tell you just how well (or poorly) you're brushing your teeth. Colgate's Smart Electronic Toothbrush E1 connects with an iPhone and providers real-time directions as you brush. The tool uses its "smart brushing analyzer" to tell you how long your brushing lasted, what arears of the mouth you've missed, and how to improve your brushing skills. Reviewing his personal experience using the new gadget, the Wall Street Journal's Steven Melendez says his brushing skills got a firm "scolding" from the tool. "It seems I only brushed for 79 seconds, rather than the recommended two-minute minimum, and skipped five teeth entirely," he said of his first go with the toothbrush.  

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