Reason To Fear ‘The Reaper’ Pepper

Pepper Death

Carolina Reaper Pepper Can Cause Brain Damage

Something that happened to a contestant in a hot-pepper-eating contest might give spicy food lovers one more reason to “fear the reaper”.  And these types of Fire-In-Mouth contests may soon be a thing of the past.

A 34-year-old man who has not been identified, experienced a series of intense headaches and dry heaving after eating a Carolina Reaper during the contest in New York The Carolina Reaper is reportedly the hottest pepper in the world.

The man developed excruciating pain in his head and neck, prompting him to go to an emergency room. Doctors say that the man ate the pepper and immediately starting having a severe headache that started in the back of the head and spread all over within two seconds.

When the patient arrived at the hospital, physicians were not positive what had caused his symptoms. The man did not have any neurological deficits such as slurred speech, muscle weakness or vision loss that would have indicated a stroke. CT imaging also ruled out a blood clot or bleeding in one of the large blood vessels supplying the brain.

But a CT angiogram of the brain’s blood vessels did reveal something unusual: a substantial narrowing of the left internal carotid artery and four other blood vessels supplying the brain.

A neurologist on the case eventually diagnosed the man with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, or RCVS, probably caused by the hot peppers.

RCVS is typically characterized by an intense “thunderclap” headache due to constriction of blood vessels in the brain and usually resolves within a few days or weeks. It is normally associated with certain medications, such as ergotamine or triptans, and illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines — not peppers.

Needless to say, if eating crazy-hot peppers is causing people’s brains to show symptoms similar to drug overdoses, maybe it’s time to re-think consuming these ridiculously hot veggies.

The Carolina Reaper was bred in 2013 by Ed Currie of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company. The pepper measures roughly 1.5 million on the Scoville Heat Scale — a measurement of the pungency, or spiciness, of chili peppers. That is over 400 times spicier than jalapeño peppers, which average 3,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale, according to a 2013 study.

Greg Foster of Irvine, California, holds the Guiness World Record for Carolina Reaper eating. He achieved this accomplishment by consuming 120 grams of the pepper in 60 seconds at the Arizona Hot Sauce Expo in November 2016.Whatever happened to just arm wrestling?

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