Who would have guessed that the Internet-aided teen video craze of trying to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon could lead to significant respiratory harm? Brown University sophomore Amelia Grant-Alfieri, that’s who. As a teen herself working with co-authors at the University of Miami, Grant-Alfieri wrote a paper published this week in the journal Pediatrics that reports: “Cinnamon inhalation can cause pulmonary inflammation, predisposing airways to epithelial lesions and scarring. Aspirated powder entering the upper airways can cause inflammation and, in more severe cases, aspiration pneumonia.” Grant-Alfieri’s research included tracking pulmonary and dermatological clinical studies, Internet trends (focused mainly on YouTube), and state and national Poison Control Center statistics. “Over the past year or so, the ‘Cinnamon Challenge’ received media attention as both an entertaining Internet fad and a possible health risk. However, there was no real research done on the subject. Following my research, we concluded that although the challenge is not life-threatening for most participants, it is important to educate all adolescents that such dares are not worth the risks.”

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