The Week That Wasn't: Vape Explosion, Cosmetics Injuries, Long Live Cheese

Ellie Kincaid


June 21, 2019

Welcome to The Week That Wasn't. Here are three stories we decided not to cover this week, and why.

Vape Pen Explosion

Physicians in Utah wrote in to the New England Journal of Medicine with an account of treating a 17-year-old boy with a painful and swollen jaw after an e-cigarette exploded while he was using it. Pictures with the report include an image showing the boy's fractured jawbone. The physicians wrote that he had recovered well at a 6-week follow-up appointment.

We don't often cover single case reports, and this publication with two pictures and a paragraph of text isn't much to go on. Previous research in the journal Tobacco Control estimated that US hospital emergency departments saw 2035 e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries from 2015 to 2017, so such cases are not unheard of, but also probably not something physicians are seeing frequently.

Kids and Cosmetics

How common is it for kids to be injured by cosmetic products so badly that they need to go to the hospital? Researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus mined the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database to find out. They found that from 2002 to 2016, an estimated 64,686 children younger than 5 years received treatment for cosmetic-related injuries in emergency departments. There was not much difference in the rate over that 15-year period.

The prevalence of cosmetic-related injuries in children is important information, but the article summarizing the findings in the journal Clinical Pediatrics doesn't suggest any changes or trends in these injuries, or different ways of treating them.

Do Mice Eat Cheese for Longevity?

A story made the rounds this week suggesting that eating cheese could help people live longer. Sounds great, but the data cited came from a study of mice and rats that researchers fed spermidine, a compound found in some cheeses and other foods. It's extrapolating a lot to connect mice and rats eating a single compound to humans eating a specific food. The main text of the scientific article doesn't contain the word "cheese" even once.

The article did include data from a dietary study in humans as well, but since it was published in Nature Medicine in 2016, it's not exactly breaking news.

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