As you sow, so shall you reap … Carolina Reapers, formerly the world’s hottest chilli peppers. Eating one appears to have given a man reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.
Image Credit: Photograph by Photograph: Alamy
A man who took part in a chilli pepper eating contest ended up with more than he bargained for when he took on the hottest pepper in the world.
After eating a Carolina Reaper pepper, the 34-year-old started dry heaving before developing a pain in his neck that turned into a series of thunderclap headaches: sudden and severe episodes of excruciating pain that peak within a minute.
The Carolina Reaper, which can top 2.2m on the Scoville heat scale, was the world’s hottest pepper at the time of the incident in 2016 – although new breeds called Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath have since reportedly surpassed it.
The details, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, reveal the pain was so terrible the man went to the emergency room at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, a village in New York State.
“[A thunderclap headache] lasts for a few minutes and it might be associated with dry-heaving, nausea, vomiting – and then it gets better on its own.
But it keeps coming back,” said Dr Kulothungan Gunasekaran of the Henry Ford HealthSystem in Detroit, a co-author of the report, adding that thunderclap headaches can be caused by a number of problems including bleeding inside the brain or blood clots.
CT and MRI scans of the man’s brain were taken but showed nothing out of the ordinary. What’s more, the man did not report having any speech or vision problems.