Science & Spirit: False Eyelashes, Birthweight, Chili Peppers

Science & Spirit: False Eyelashes, Birthweight, Chili Peppers

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This week, there’s news from the world of science involving risk factors you’ve never considered. Does your birthweight indicate future heart disease? Should you stop eating chili peppers? And for the love of goodness, take off the magnetic lashes before your MRI appointment. Read on for the fascinating details.

Take Off Those Lashes!

Magnetic eyelashes may look pretty—and are currently very popular, showing up as the top Google beauty search of 2018. But if you are scheduled for an MRI, be sure to leave the lashes at home before you check in. The magnetic eyelashes may cause image distortion, affecting test results, or even cause eye damage if they detach, according to a recent report from the American Roentgen Ray Society, a professional organization for radiologists. “We strongly recommend inserting a line about magnetic eyelashes on the MRI safety questionnaire and adding stops in the screening system to prevent the entry of anyone with these lashes, including staff, into the MRI scanner room.”

Birthweight and Heart Health

Heart problems later in life may be predicted by the size of a baby at birth, reports a study from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Researchers found that a baby’s proportions—birthweight and length—may give clues for later heart health. A low rate of perinatal growth (a baby that is born smaller than its parents’ size would predict) was associated with a later increase in size of a major pumping chamber of the heart. “Our findings are a call to pediatricians to be even more diligent in measuring and noting birthweight and length parameters,” wrote Dr. Brian Stansfield, the study’s corresponding author and a neonatologist. This early measure of height and weight may provide lifelong insights into an individual’s risk of heart and other diseases, and may someday be considered an important factor just like cholesterol levels.

Chili Peppers and Dementia

I love spicy food. Pass the hot sauce! But a new study out of the University of South Australia suggests I need to keep the hot foods in moderation. A 15-year study of just over 4,500 Chinese adults showed that consuming more than 50 grams of either fresh or dried chili a day was associated with faster cognitive delay. Memory decline was even more pronounced if the subject was slender. “Chili consumption was found to be beneficial for body weight and blood pressure in our previous studies,” wrote the study’s lead author, Dr. Zumin Shi. (Read more on that here.) “However, in this study, we found adverse effects on cognition among older adults.”

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