Man suffers 'thunderclap' headaches after eating world's hottest chilli

Pods of the Carolina Reaper pepper are seen in

Pods of the Carolina Reaper pepper are seen in

The 34-year-old man ate the pepper, a Carolina Reaper, as a part of a hot-pepper-eating contest.

According to a new case study in The British Medical Journal, a 34-year-old man from NY did just that during a hot pepper eating contest - and ended up in hospital. Dr. Gregory Cummings, neurologist who was looking after the man diagnosed him with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, or RCVS that could have been caused due to the effects of the hot peppers.

"Almost immediately", the man in the challenge began dry-heaving, according to a case study published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

The patient, who has not been identified, immediately began dry heaving after sampling the chilli, the United States authors said in the paper.

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It turns out that he was having "thunderclap headaches", which, just like their name suggests, tend to strike fast and hard, with pain peaking within about 60 seconds. Five weeks later, another CT scan showed that his brain arteries had returned to normal.

But a closer scan of blood vessels in his head found a peculiar narrowing of arteries in his brain. In 2015, a 9-year-old boy's video went viral when he tried the pepper on YouTube, and in 2016 a man set another world record when he ate 22 Carolina Reapers in less than a minute.

The Carolina Reaper, which supermarket giant Tesco stocked last summer, is so hot that people are supposed to wear gloves when they handle it. He had no further thunderclap headaches. It doesn't always have an obvious cause, but can occur as a reaction to certain prescription meds, or after taking illegal drugs.

"But majority will do well with only recurrent headaches, and then they have a total recovery", she added.

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"No cases of RCVS secondary to peppers or cayenne have been previously reported", he said, "but ingestion of cayenne pepper has been associated with coronary vasospasm and acute myocardial infarction", he added.

The Carolina Reaper was bred in 2013 by Ed Currie of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company.

It rates at an average of 1,641,183 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), according to tests conducted by Winthrop University in SC in 2017.

Three competitors, who are not involved in this story or case report, are seen participating in a chili pepper eating competition in Ningxiang, China.

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