The Moroccan Euphorbia resinifera plant produces a resin so spicy that it attains a whopping 16,000,000,000 on the Scoville scale, 10,000x hotter than a Carolina reaper chili.
The active ingredient in this resin is resiniferatoxin, AKA RTX, which has proven incredible promising in early animal trials for treating chronic pain. Dogs with joint pain are anesthetized and injected with RTX, which destroys their nerve endings and makes them incapable of sensing pain until the nerves regenerate, about 5 months later.
The NIH is experimenting with using RTX to relieve pain in people with bone cancer, under FDA guidance allowing for RTX experimentation on terminally ill people who don't have to fear secondary harms from losing their ability to sense pain, heat, etc.
I suffer from largely untreatable chronic pain and I absolutely dote on capcasin-based muscle rubs (Tiger Balm, etc), but I find that I quickly become inured to their effects and have to constantly up my dose. More than once, I've given myself serious chemical burns from too much hot muscle rub. RTX sounds weirdly tempting to me.
RTX’s promise lies in its specificity. Think of it like a sniper rifle for pain, whereas opioids are more like hand grenades. Opioids target receptors all over the body, not a specific kind of sensory neuron. “That's why when you give it to somebody, you get problems with constipation, sedation, they can have respiratory depression,” says Mannes.
That and you have to take opioids constantly, but not so with RTX. “You give it once and it should last for an extended period of time because it is destroying the fibers,” says Mannes. “But the other thing with this to remember is there's no reinforcement. There's no high associated with it, there's no addiction potential whatsoever.”
This Chemical Is So Hot It Destroys Nerve Endings—in a Good Way [Matt Simon/Wired]
TIL: Sharks are attracted to the sound of death metal. Apparently, the “dense tones” of it mimics the “low frequencies of struggling fish.” (Damn.) In 2015, a Discovery Channel crew — hoping to attract a large great white named “Joan of Shark” — dropped a speaker underwater and played some. Independent: Desperate to feature the […]
The mystery of the glorious fireball emitted by microwaved grapes (featured in my novel Little Brother) has been resolved, thanks to a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which Trent University researchers Hamza Khattak and Aaron Slepkov explain how they destroyed a dozen microwaves before figuring out that the grapes […]
The rise in a belief that the Earth is flat is bizarre and somewhat frightening, a repudiation of one of the most basic elements of scientific consensus. Texas Tech University psych researcher Asheley R. Landrum attended a 2017 flat earth convention and interviewed 30 attendees to trace the origins of their belief in a flat […]
Use a single password for every website, and you’re compromising your security. Use a different one each time, and you’re bound to lose track of them. The solution? RoboForm Everywhere, a catch-all tool that will not only manage the passwords on every site you visit but generate better ones. As a simple password database, it’s […]
Just a reminder: Print isn’t dead. And now that printers are becoming as portable as cell phones, it might be around for quite some time. Enter the MEMOBIRD Mobile Thermal Printer, a mini-printer that is versatile, portable – and most importantly, never needs a refill on ink or toner. Measuring just a few inches around, […]
What do Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google all have in common? Somewhere in their framework, they all use MySQL, that most versatile (and free!) of database management systems. And they’re not alone. If your company or the one you’d like to work for wrangles data (and who doesn’t?), they’re going to need someone with a […]