Experts explain how lie detectors work, what happens in the brain when we tell lies and how accurate polygraph tests are.
- In a 2002 study, 60 percent of people were found to lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation, with most people telling an average of two or three lies. The polygraph, invented in the early 1920s, detects physiological responses to lying (such as elevated heart and respiratory rates as well as spikes in blood pressure.
- Three main areas of the brain are stimulated during deception: the frontal lobe, the limbic system, and the temporal lobe.
- According to the American Polygraph Association, the estimated accuracy of a polygraph can be up to 87 percent.
What happens in your brain when you lie?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU5ODY0Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NDU4OTUzMX0.GHs9ZTFWtuC8IGBQTLsM4qd2LFriJZFuAn4whFj-GZ0/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C19%2C0%2C19&height=700" id="9c39a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4747d0e2eb354c19bc9d0749c2d28f26" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of lying polygraph test" />
Image by Shidlovski on Shutterstock<p>We all lie. Some might argue it's human nature. In a 2002 study, 60 percent of people were found to lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation, with most people telling an average of two or three lies. Some lies are small, some are bigger, some are done out of kindness, and some done out of malice. But a lie is a lie, and the way that your body reacts when you lie is the same.</p><p><strong>Lying is an inherently stressful activity. </strong></p><p>When you engage in a false narrative (or a lie), your respiratory and heart rate will increase and you may even start to sweat. While people may vary in the ability to tell a lie, most of the time your body will react in this same way. Exceptions to this rule are, for example, psychopaths, who lack empathy and therefore do not exhibit the typical physiological stress responses when telling a lie. </p><p><strong>Brain imaging studies have shown what really happens in the brain when you tell a lie. </strong></p><p>Lying generally involves more effort than telling the truth, and because of this, it involves the prefrontal cortex. <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-art-of-lying/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2001 study</a> by late neuroscientist Sean Spence (University of Sheffield in England) explored fMRI images of the brain while lying. Participants answered questions about their daily routine by pressing a yes or no button on a screen. Depending on the color of the writing, they were to answer either truthfully or with a lie. </p><p>The results showed participants needed more time to formulate a dishonest answer than an honest one, and certain parts of the prefrontal cortex were more active when they were lying. </p><p><a href="https://mashable.com/2013/12/20/psychology-of-lying/?europe=true#:~:text=When%20we%20lie%2C%20it%20stimulates,memories%20and%20creating%20mental%20imagery." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Further research</a> explains that three main areas of the brain are stimulated during deception - the frontal lobe works to suppress the truth, the limbic system activates due to the anxiety that comes from lying, and the temporal lobe activates in response to retrieving memories and creating mental imagery (fabricating a believable lie). </p><p><strong>Research also suggests lying becomes easier the more you do it. </strong></p><p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27775721/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In a 2016 study</a>, Duke psychologist Dan Ariely and his colleagues showed how dishonesty can alter your brain, making it easier to tell lies in the future. When people told lies, the scientists noticed a burst of activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain involved in fear, anxiety, and emotional responses. When the scientists had their subject play a game in which they won money by deceiving their partner, they noticed the negative signals from the amygdala begin to decrease. </p><p>"Lying, in fact, desensitized your brain to the fear of getting caught of hurting others, making lying for your own benefit down the road much easier," wrote Jessica Stillman for <a href="https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/the-science-of-lying-more-you-do-it-easier-it-gets.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">INC</a>.</p>
How do lie detectors work?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU5ODY3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzg5MDU0OX0._xLKh6Lu15CNNf0eoLNROD6XGuqiT2R8pKxq0TECV2A/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C193%2C0%2C193&height=700" id="32e6f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="092c4388f3cea4afb66387c522754519" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="lie detector illustration" />
The polygraph will be able to detect if someone is telling the truth 87 percent of the time.
Image by OllivsArt on Shutterstock<p>In 1921, a California-based police officer and physiologist John A. Larson created an apparatus that simultaneously measures continuous changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate to aid in the detection of deception. This was the invention of the polygraph, which is commonly referred to as a lie detector.</p><p>Seven years before this, in 1914, an Italian psychologist (Vittorio Benussi) published findings on "the respiratory symptoms of a lie," and in 1915, an American psychologist and lawyer (William M. Marston) invented a blood pressure test for the detection of deception.</p><p>The accuracy of polygraph tests has been called into question for nearly as long as they've existed. These machines detect typical stress responses to telling a lie. This means increased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate. Some people are naturally good liars, or become better with controlling these stress responses, and can manage to stay calm during a lie detector test. </p><p><a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-nature-deception/202001/do-lie-detector-tests-really-work#:~:text=It%20does%20work%20much%20of,trained%20polygraph%20examiner%20can%20tell.&text=They%20estimate%20the%20accuracy%20of,lying%20or%20telling%20the%20truth" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to the American Polygraph Association</a> (made up largely of polygraph examiners), the estimated accuracy of a polygraph can be up to 87 percent. That means that in 87 out of 100 cases, the polygraph will be able to detect if someone is telling the truth.</p><p>If the person lies but doesn't have the stress symptoms of telling that lie, they will pass the test. Similarly, innocent people may fail the test due to being anxious about taking it to begin with and therefore emitting the elevated heart, respiratory, and blood pressure rates that can be detected. </p>
The sudden prevalence of an artery in the forearm is evidence that we're still very much a work in progress.
- Australian scientists see signs of accelerating human evolution.
- Exhibit A is the rapid rise in the prevalence of the median artery in adults.
- Other emerging traits, like shorter baby jaws, support their finding.
The rise of the median artery<p>The study was authored by scientists from <a href="https://www.flinders.edu.au" target="_blank">Flinders University</a> and the <a href="https://www.adelaide.edu.au/front/international.html?adobe_mc_sdid=SDID%3D6F3F7FE9AFD60DD6-7758ADFFE05FB639|MCORGID%3DBA023B045D5A83160A495E49%40AdobeOrg|TS%3D1602523779&adobe_mc_ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F" target="_blank">University of Adelaide</a> in South Australia. It's published in the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joa.13224" target="_blank">Journal of Anatomy</a>.<br></p><p>The median artery supplies blood to a fetus' forearm in the womb during early gestation. It <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6327784/" target="_blank">typically</a> atrophies and is replaced by the radial and ulna arteries before birth. Few adults have historically had all three arteries — median, radial, and ulna — but this has been changing. </p><p>The study's senior author <a href="https://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/maciej.henneberg" target="_blank">Maciej Henneberg</a> <a href="https://news.flinders.edu.au/blog/2020/10/08/forearm-artery-reveals-human-evolution-continues/" target="_blank">says</a>, "This is micro evolution in modern humans and the median artery is a perfect example of how we're still evolving because people born more recently have a higher prevalence of this artery when compared to humans from previous generations."</p><p>The phenomenon was first noticed in the 18th century, and a study of the artery's persistence was conducted in 1995. The more recent study extends that work, finding that the occurrence of the artery trio is accelerating.</p><p>"The prevalence was around 10% in people born in the mid-1880s compared to 30% in those born in the late 20th century," says lead author <a href="https://medicalsciences.med.unsw.edu.au/people/dr-teghan-lucas" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Teghan Lucas</a>, "so that's a significant increase in a fairly short period of time, when it comes to evolution."</p><p>Why this is occurring isn't clear. "This increase could have resulted from mutations of genes involved in median artery development or health problems in mothers during pregnancy, or both actually," says Lucas.</p><p>However, she says, one thing is clear: "If this trend continues, a majority of people will have median artery of the forearm by 2100."</p><span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1ad42f2dbdf44fb8ce1468e6bb53bab3"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zIb9mymN80o?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
(Fore)armed with insight<p>The researchers tracked the presence the median artery in cadavers. They examined the 78 upper limbs obtained from Australians who died between 2015 and 2016. The deceased were from 51 to 101 years of age at death. In 26 of the limbs, the median artery was present.</p><p>Says Henneberg, "We've collected all the data published in anatomical literature and continued to dissect cadavers donated for studies in Adelaide, and we found about one third of Australians have the median artery in their forearm and everyone will have it by the end of the century if this process continues."</p><p>The scientists' conclusion is that we're evolving more quickly now than at any point in the last 250 years of study.</p>
Ground-penetrating radar allows the non-invasive virtual excavation of Falerii Novi.
- Using ground-penetrating radar, layers of an ordinary field in Italy are pulled back to reveal a lost Roman town.
- Without disturbing a single artifact, an incredible level of detail is uncovered.
- The buried town, Falerii Novi, has been quietly awaiting discovery since it was abandoned at the start of medieval age.
Technology and patience<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM4NzE4MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNzQxMTY4MH0.DIOloya9PvQywFEed7II9NiUJzaCUv5aqslmE4bQTDo/img.jpg?width=980" id="f1a3f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="71904c4627c2cc05a5ef7ca3f904cdb4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="ground-penetrating radar equipment scanning the field" />
Image source:Frank Vermeulen/University of Cambridge<p>Falerii Novi was unearthed using <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0926985118305846" target="_blank">ground-penetrating radar</a>, or GPR. With each pass across that field, the bike pulled a rolling frame outfitted with a GPR instrument that bounced radio waves off of whatever lay beneath it. The device took a reading every 12.5 centimeters, eventually imaging the entire 30.5-hectare area. Without disturbing a single ancient artifact, GPR generated a remarkably detailed look at the lost city, with its various different layers depicting changes that occurred over time.</p><p>In the end, the researchers were confronted with 28 billion GPR data points to be processed, an almost impossibly huge task. Each hectare takes about 20 hours to work through, and the team is currently developing automation techniques that will allow them to fully explore the data collected by the GPR.</p><p>Corresponding author of the study recently published in <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/groundpenetrating-radar-survey-at-falerii-novi-a-new-approach-to-the-study-of-roman-cities/BE7B8E3AE55DB6E03225B01C54CDD09B#fndtn-information" target="_blank">Antiquity</a>, Martin Millett of Cambridge's Faculty of Classics, is <a href="https://www.cam.ac.uk/stories/roman-city-rises" target="_blank">clearly excited</a> by the project:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>"The astonishing level of detail which we have achieved at Falerii Novi, and the surprising features that GPR has revealed, suggest that this type of survey could transform the way archaeologists investigate urban sites, as total entities."</em></p>
Falerii Novi<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM4NzIwNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODE4NjMxMH0.eVrydFSBZs3xLaAhgAA1XFnUeIaI6FGtmggJ4N519BI/img.jpg?width=980" id="263e2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6446619be28f954d75a17884b6af1690" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="A preliminary version of the Falerii Novi map" />
A preliminary version of the Falerii Novi map
Image source: University of Cambridge<p>Quite a bit was already known about the walled town of Falerii Novi. It was first occupied in 241 BC, and lasted until around 700 AD., the early days of the medieval period. It's located about 30 miles north of Rome. The town, which was about half the size of Pompeii, has been the subject of other scanning research before, but has never been so thoroughly revealed until now.<br></p>
What's new/old?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM4ODQxNC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MTQ3OTE4NX0._z1JKPFQHTBUdUKl1W9xDZC2EypBnU-G3TTib7lvEqc/img.png?width=980" id="b1c66" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c9eee6cf0614e5eb43e0c7b8e7e3845c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Falerii Novi" />
Image source: L. Verdonck/University of Cambridge<p>The visible Falerii Novi contains a number of surprises.</p><p>In a broad sense, the town's layout appears less standardized than archaeologists would expect for an ancient Roman community, with a number of notable features.</p><p>There's the mysterious pair of large structures facing each other within a porticus duplex located at the town's northern gate at the upper edge of the image above. Experts have no idea what these buildings are, though they conjecture that they may have been some sort of massive monument overlooking the city's edge.</p><p>In addition, for a small city, the temple, market building and bath complex are unexpectedly elaborate.</p><p>GPR also revealed the existence of an intriguing network of pipes that may have been a large public bathing system featuring an open-air natatio, or pool. The pipes terminate at a large rectangular building and run not just along the town's streets, as might be expected, but also under its city blocks.</p>
Looking forward<p>With the Falerii Novi project serving as such a stunning reason to keep using this technology for archaeology, Millet envisions many more such projects: "It is exciting and now realistic to imagine GPR being used to survey a major city such as Miletus in Turkey, Nicopolis in Greece or Cyrene in Libya. We still have so much to learn about Roman urban life and this technology should open up unprecedented opportunities for decades to come."</p>
Coke, meth, ecstasy, amphetamines: each drug has a different 'capital'
- A large-scale survey of wastewater across Europe shows which illicit drugs are popular.
- The use of four main drugs was up across the board last year, but regional variation persists.
- Cocaine is popular in the west and south, meth in the east and north.
How to trace illicit drug use<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg5OTU0Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2ODgwMTY0N30.3vF7u1BM-_3dCtp6hD2aofC3xcfLYCrHnCqsTMq37uQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="cff3e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="31a7d5811a4904ad4a43f7af38856e76" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="MDMA is a widely used and popular recreational drug. It has a significant number of street names, including adam, doves, E, ecstasy, flip, happy pill, love drug, love pill, molly, party drug, roll and XTC." />
Some examples of MDMA, a.k.a. ecstasy, in pill form.
DM Trott / The Drug User's Bible - CC BY-SA 4.0<p>Europe's drug capitals? Antwerp for cocaine use, Stockholm for amphetamines. Prague tops the list for crystal meth, Amsterdam for ecstasy. So says a study by the EU's official drug monitory body, analysing sewage samples from 68 cities in 23 European countries. The standardised surveys of urban wastewater, conducted since 2011, are a good indicator of regional preferences in illicit drug use, and their evolution over time. </p><p><span></span>It's not easy to establish the size of Europe's appetite for illicit drugs. Most users would prefer not to discuss their habit, and seizures of drugs shipments provide only a very partial picture. Fortunately for the scientists, urine doesn't lie. </p><p><span></span>Since its original use in the 1990s to monitor the environmental impact of liquid household waste, wastewater analysis has rapidly improved, and is now able to provide near real-time data on the quantity, the geography and the evolution over time of illicit drug use. </p><p><span></span>The most recent study, published earlier this month by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), took samples in March 2019 at treatment plants processing sewage for a total of 50 million Europeans, concentrated in the continent's major urban centers.</p><p><span></span>The sewage was tested for traces of four illicit drugs: cocaine, MDMA (popularly known as ecstasy), amphetamines and methamphetamines (a.k.a. crystal meth). These leave clearly detectable biomarkers in sewage, unlike cannabis or heroin.</p><ul><li>Compared to previous years, consumption was on the increase for each of the four drugs. </li><li>Residues for all four drugs were higher in larger cities – a reflection of the fact that this is where younger people tend to congregate.</li><li>Three out of four cities reported higher levels of amphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy use during the weekend, indicating recreational use. </li><li>Crystal meth use tended to stay even over the whole week, indicating more chronic, problematic use. </li></ul>
Cocaine: popular in west and south<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg5OTM2Ni9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjQwMjE5Nn0.og-wSfKUcP1_-IFG-NtGVCGAz33guprwuakT5QcsfVs/img.png?width=980" id="89748" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d78416b59f629925633f17c2e0ad12d2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The Belgian port city of Antwerp tops the list for highest average cocaine use" />
The Belgian port city of Antwerp tops the list for highest average cocaine use
Ecstasy: from 'niche' to mainstream<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg5OTM2Ny9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NDI0MzE5NX0.RI_36tT-hXzNYZKAXynGrXmpu4243DSmzFDUr3oWgS4/img.png?width=980" id="56cf5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4ffa44bf57f34282bdc207312a0ea549" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Ecstasy is now being used by a broader range of young people in mainstream nightlife settings." />
Ecstasy is now being used by a broader range of young people in mainstream nightlife settings.
Meth: breaking out of its Czech heartland<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg5OTM2OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTUzMTE0Nn0.5FDHAxrd1D2YU7u4739UOuXaO5XxQ_l1X9lToPT3KeE/img.png?width=980" id="9224b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e2f2ce59541fc184a569398076b904b0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bPrague is Europe's meth central." />
Prague is Europe's meth central.
Amphetamines: popular in the north<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg5OTM3MC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDAzOTE1M30.cggP9f38dw3huiYrYnlzOduarJn5NfTxZ04ruroxwKk/img.png?width=980" id="0af15" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1a34b0c581f08e71b205a7669a785731" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bGermany, Belgium and Sweden occupy all but two spots in the amphetamine top 10." />
Germany, Belgium and Sweden occupy all but two spots in the amphetamine top 10.
Thousands of people are experiencing severe pulmonary issues from vaping, and some are dying.
- Scientists now believe that the primary culprit in this health crisis is vitamin E acetate, though research continues for other toxic factors.
- Vitamin E is a gooey thickener often used in black-market cannabis-based vaping products.
- Vapers who feel like they may have pneumonia should consult a physician immediately.
The patient in Detroit<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA4NTYwOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjY0MzY1NX0.nMJ3e_PGjaGAZhLZZ6mkrdQzOpIGo5Pw6fgqAlWFNHs/img.jpg?width=980" id="76c62" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b3f851c1c51829cdf57cc83c4c221610" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
mage source: James R. Martin/Shutterstock<p>Not much information regarding the individual described by Nemeh has been released, since he's a minor. What we do know is that his family has described him as an otherwise-healthy young athlete.</p><p>The teen was admitted to the first of three hospitals, St. John Hospital, September 5 with what seemed to be pneumonia. His breathing, however, became increasingly difficult until he was put on a ventilator September 12. He was soon transferred to Children's Hospital of Michigan to be connected to an <a href="https://www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/what-is-ecmo.pdf" target="_blank">extracorporeal membrane oxygenation device</a> (ECMO) in order to maintain heart and lung functioning. Still failing, he was transferred to Henry Ford for a six-hour, double-lung transplant on October 15, without which, doctors say, he would certainly have died.</p><p>"There was an enormous amount of inflammation and scarring in addition to multiple spots of dead tissue. And the lung itself was so firm and scarred, literally we had to deliver it out of the chest," recalls Nemeh.</p>
THC and vitamin E acetate<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjA5MjAyOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTU4ODQwMX0.2dXHcl0I1I50k5ZV-onGs-cEP2DHSZ0shSRJMd0Mzl8/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=171%2C347%2C171%2C347&height=700" id="b6f90" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="59ef23123cb005117607f305cb6a4d9f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Vitamin E acetete
Image source: ibreakstock/Shutterstock<p>When the medical community first became aware of the pulmonary problems, it was unclear what aspect of vaping was causing them. Likewise, it was unclear whether it was tobacco or THC vaping that was causing the problems, or both.</p><p>Scientists from the CDC tested for the presence of potential culprits in victims' lung fluid, looking for plant oils, petroleum distillates including mineral oils, or any other suspicious contaminants common to the individuals' cases.</p><p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6845e2.htm?s_cid=mm6845e2_w" target="_blank">What they found</a> — though there could still be additional substances involved — was vitamin E acetate, or tocopheryl acetate. Collecting 29 lung-fluid samples from 29 people who had been sickened or who had died of lung issues, <em>all</em> 29 contained vitamin E acetate. The CDC's Dr. Jim Pirkle says that's "pretty much unheard of," and constitutes a "very strong signal" that vitamin E acetate is at the very least part of the reason for vapers' pulmonary damage.</p><p>CDC officials have concluded that most of the patients had vaped cannabis-based products. This is supported by state testing — New York's reports finding "very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all" of the samples from cannabis vapers they tested. While the federal FDA remains cautious about putting all the blame on vitamin E acetate, they, too, have found it to be prevalent in afflicted vapers' lungs. Medical authorities are continuing to test for other possible factors in the frequency of pulmonary illnesses among vapers.</p><p>Legitimately manufactured and sold cannabis-based vaping products don't necessarily contain vitamin E acetate. However, the sticky, honey-like substance is commonly used as a thickener in black-market THC products. Unlike THC itself, vitamin E acetate lingers in users' lungs. These unregulated, illicit cannabis-based vaping products, say experts, have indeed been linked to most of the cases medical professionals are seeing.</p><p>"This is a preventable tragedy," says Nemeh. While vaping is presumed by many to be safer than smoking, this current public health crisis makes clear that caution is advised, especially when buying vaping products off the street.</p>