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World’s hottest pepper may have triggered this man’s severe headaches

Known as the Carolina Reaper, the chili can constrict arteries in the brain

By
6:44pm, April 9, 2018
Carolina Reaper

FEAR THE REAPER  The Carolina Reaper (shown) has a rating of more than 2 million Scoville heat units — a measure of spiciness —making it the hottest pepper in the world, according to Guinness World Records. In contrast, the jalapeño has a rating up to 8,000 units.

Hot peppers aren’t just a pain in the mouth — they may be a pain in the head, too. After eating the hottest known pepper in the world, a man suffered from splitting headaches that drove him to the hospital emergency room, and into case-study history.

His is the first known instance of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome — a temporary narrowing of arteries in the brain — to be tied to eating a hot pepper, researchers report April 9 in British Medical Journal Case Reports. Such narrowed arteries can lead to severe pain called “thunderclap headaches” and are often associated with pregnancy complications or illicit drug use.

During a hot-pepper-eating contest, the man ate a chili dubbed the Carolina Reaper, named by Guinness World Records as the hottest pepper in the world. The Carolina Reaper is over 200 times as spicy as a jalapeño. About a

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