Sitting For Long Periods Can Reduce Blood Flow To Brain

Sitting behind a desk all day and struggling to concentrate come 3pm? New research has found that staying sedentary can slow the flow of blood to our brains, which can have short-term effects on cognitive function and long-term implications for our health.

The study – published in the Journal of Applied Physiology – put 15 healthy adults through a number of experiments to explore the impact of uninterrupted and interrupted sitting on cerebrovascular blood flow.

The participants underwent three different tests on seperate days: 1) uninterrupted sitting, 2) sitting with two minute light intensity walking breaks every 30 minutes or 3) sitting with eight minute, light intensity walking breaks every two hours. Blood flow velocity to the brain was tested before the experiment and after four hours.

They found that when subjects sat for four continuous hours, blood flow showed a small but noticeable decline. When sitting was broken up with walking every two hours, blood flow picked up during the actual walking break but was lower by the end of the session than at the start. However, blain blood flow rose slightly in participants who broke up sitting with two minute of walking every 30 minutes.

Although the study was small and did not address whether these declines in blood flow affected participants’ ability to think, past studies have found that short-term drops in brain blood flow can impact thinking and memory while long-term reductions are linked to higher risks of neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia.

Staying sedentary has long been linked to reduced physical health outcomes but more research is highlighting its impact on mental health. A recent Australian study found that those who sat for at least six hours a day were more likely to feel tired, nervous, restless or hopeless compared to those who spent less time on their butts.

So let this inspire you to set an alarm on your phone and get stepping every halfa. 

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Should You Be Doing Ball Slams in Your Workouts?

Exercises like ball slams can be a great way to get fit while blowing off some steam — but some experts think the aggro move is just a dangerous waste of time and energy.

Harley Pasternak, a celebrity trainer to the likes of Adam Levine, isn’t a fan of ball slams. In a recent Instagram post, the trainer shared a video of a woman performing the movement, only to have the ball bounce back up and smash her in the face after slamming off the floor.

There are many exercises that have become popular in the fitness world that are neither useful or safe. The ball slam is without a doubt one of them. If you love this exercise, why? #dumbexercises #exercise

A post shared by Harley Pasternak MSc (@harleypasternak) on

“There are many exercises that have become popular in the fitness world that are neither useful or safe,” he captioned the post. “The ball slam is without a doubt one of them. If you love this exercise, why? #dumbexercises”

I was surprised to see Pasternak call out the ball slam in such a harsh way. Eric Salvador, CPT, head trainer at Fhitting Room in New York City, disagrees with him. “These exercises are functional movements and great for strengthening the body as a whole,” Salvador told MensHealth.com. “Throwing/slamming and lifting things from the ground to the overhead position are common everyday movements.”

Plus, Salvador said, the exercise can build strength and power in your abdominal, core, and back muscles, while also improving hand-eye coordination and building cardiorespiratory endurance.

When I contacted Pasternak to find out more about his feelings on ball slams, he didn’t budge his stance. “I think the way that most people do the exercise… is useless,” he said. “The number one reason people exercise is to change the way they look. The ball slam is primarily a performance-based exercise, [and] while I do think it might have a place in preparing athlete performance, I can think of plenty [of] other exercises that are more useful to train the muscles involved in a safer, more focused manner.”

The main beef Pasternak has centers on how people actually do the move. “The majority of people I see who do this exercise do it with incorrect technique and often compromise the health of their lower backs and upper shoulder muscles,” he said.

Salvador admitted that those injuries typically occur when people have poor lifting mechanics and attempt to power through the slams — like when someone uses their back to lift from the ground instead of their legs.

Pasternak also took issue with the equipment used to perform a ball slam, noting that most facilities — including Fhitting Room — instruct people to use medicine balls, not slam balls made specifically for the exercise.

Pasternak is not a fan of springy med balls, like this one.
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The main difference is that slam balls are filled with sand that shifts constantly while you train with it (making it harder to grab, hold, or throw), while medicine balls, well, don’t. Medicine balls are often made out of springy rubber composite materials, so they’re easier to bounce. You’re not necessarily working as hard, and the ball could potentially spring back up and slam you in the face if your hand-eye coordination isn’t on point.

But Salvador argues that the Dynamax medicine balls he uses for the exercise, which are softer and larger in circumference, are helpful because they can be used in a variety of movements and range from 8 to 20 lbs.

Plus, depending on how hard you slam it, the ball may or may not bounce back up — meaning you either have to squat down to pick it up, or you have to work on your hand-eye coordination to snatch it on the return. Is that potentially dangerous? If you use bad form, sure — but it’s also an opportunity to grow stronger once you can perform the exercise properly.

How to Actually Do Ball Slams Safely

So, if you’re in the pro-ball slam camp, you need to incorporate the exercise into a routine safely. First, focus on technique. Here’s how Salvador says to do a ball slam correctly:

Make sure to choose your weight wisely. The most common mistake Salvador said he sees is over-eager slammers using a ball that’s too heavy. If you’re new to the exercise, opt for a lighter weight until you’re confident your form is on point, then build back up. Start by adding 3 sets of 5 slams to your workouts, then ramp up your reps as you master the movement.

Newbies should also look for a sand-filled slam ball or a medicine ball that won’t bounce back, like this Star Wars-themed Slam Ball from Onnit, so you can work on your reaction time separately. That way you can combine the two aspects of the exercise when you feel comfortable in both arenas, without risking your face to the wrath of an overly-bouncy ball.

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Newer HIV therapies have led to dramatic gains in viral suppression rates over the past 2 decades

Viral suppression rates have nearly tripled in the U.S. over the past 2 decades, but disparities still exist for younger persons and blacks living with HIV. Researchers say that newer, better-tolerated treatment regimens, such as fixed-drug combinations that include integrase strand transfer inhibitors (ISTIs), have likely contributed to these dramatic gains. Findings from an observational cohort study are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Approximately 1.2 million adults in the U.S. are living with HIV, and men who have sex with men and African Americans are disproportionately affected. Achieving and maintaining HIV viral suppression is essential for optimal outcomes and prevention efforts. As such, understanding trends and predictors of viral suppression is imperative to inform public health policy.

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Prostate Cancer Prevention: 8 Things You Can do to Fight Cancer

Everyone wants to lower their chances of getting cancer. The good news is you can: research has shown that certain behaviors, like exercising, can significantly lower your risk. For men, prostate cancer is particularly scary: aside from skin cancer, it is the most common form of cancer found in guys, according to the American Cancer Society. This year alone, an estimated 164,690 guys will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Guys older than 50, those with a family history of prostate cancer and African American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Of course, there aren’t any magical solutions to ensure you’ll never get prostate cancer, but it is possible to reduce your risk of diagnosis by following one of these eight tips.

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Eat less meat

Studies have shown that men who eat foods high in animal fat, such as dairy and red meat, were more likely to develop prostate cancer. It’s important to note that these studies do not show that fattening foods actually cause prostate cancer. Rather, they show there is a correlation between prostate cancer and consuming things like cheese or bacon. Oncologist Dr. David Wise of the Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone advises patients to get most of their fat from avocados and nuts over animal products.

Eat your broccoli

In terms of cancer-fighting foods, Wise says, “cruciferous vegetables really seem to keep popping out” as the most effective. These types of vegetables include broccoli and cauliflower, which contain a natural chemical that may prevent cancer from growing. According to Wise, this chemical is harmful to cancer cells but perfectly fine for other cells in our body. He says the evidence for eating cruciferous vegetables is the strongest in terms of prostate cancer-fighting foods.

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Don’t smoke

“Smoking is not just linked to lung cancer, it’s linked to other cancer, including prostate cancer,” Wise says. In particular, smoking is linked to aggressive forms of prostate cancer that are more likely to spread, he says. What’s more, a review of 24 studies looking at prostate cancer risk and smoking published in 2010 determined that guys who smoked the most had a 24 to 30 percent higher risk of dying from prostate cancer than nonsmokers. This was due to the more aggressive tumors associated with smoking.

Avoid certain supplements

Typically, we tend to worry about getting enough vitamins, but “just because it’s a vitamin doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good thing,” says Wise. Researchers from a 2014 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute concluded that supplementing with vitamin E and selenium as may increase risk of aggressive prostate cancer. And Wise agrees with the research saying that supplementing “beyond what we would have in our normal diet would be a bad idea.”

According to the National Institute of Health, adults should get 15 mg of vitamin E a day.

Ejaculate regularly

As if masturbation didn’t already provide enough of a payoff, an Australian study found that DIY sex may help prevent prostate cancer. The study of 2,338 men showed that guys who masturbated five or more times a week were 34 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer by age 70 than those who handled matters less often.

“Seminal fluid contains substances that are carcinogenic,” Graham Giles, Ph.D., the lead study author, told Men’s Health. “Regular ejaculation may help flush them out.” According to Mel magazine, the high concentrations of potassium, zinc, fructose and citric acid that help make sperm may be carcinogenic when mixed together.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, straight-up sex works, too.

“Seminal fluid contains substances that are carcinogenic,” Graham Giles, Ph.D., the lead study author, told Men’s Health. “Regular ejaculation may help flush them out.” According to Mel magazine, the high concentrations of potassium, zinc, fructose and citric acid that help make sperm may be carcinogenic when mixed together.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, straight-up sex works, too.

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Have safe sex

Speaking of sex, using protection may lower your chances of developing prostate cancer. Sexually transmitted infections like cytomegalovirus and trichomoniasis have been linked to prostate cancer. The first is a type of herpes found in cancerous prostate tissue. Trichomoniasis, on the other hand, is a treatable virus that may have long-term effects. A study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention found that guys who were ever infected with trichomoniasis had a 40 percent greater chance of developing prostate cancer.

Lose Weight

Years of research clearly show that extra body weight is associated with an increased cancer risk, include aggressive forms of prostate cancer, writes the American Cancer Society. It’s not clear why excess fat is linked with cancer, but researchers theorize it may be because levels of certain hormones, e.g., insulin, estrogen and androgen, are reduced when people are at a healthy weight. The National Institute of Health’s Body Mass Index calculator can determine if you’re considered overweight or obese.

Exercise

Research continually shows that staying active might prevent prostate cancer.. In fact, Wise believes exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are the two single-best ways to reduce your prostate cancer risk. “I think that time, energy and funds should be invested into getting into healthy weight and getting onto an exercise program,” he says.

How much should you work out?

“About two and a half hours of moderate exercise or about an hour and fifteen minutes a week of very intense exercise would be the minimum,” Wise recommends.

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Woman Claims Doctor Incorrectly Removed Her Kidney and Caused an Incurable Disease

An Iowa woman is alleging that a doctor incorrectly removed her kidney, and the mistaken surgery led to an incurable disease.

Dena Knapp says that she was supposed to have surgery to remove her adrenal gland and a mass on the adrenal gland back on Oct. 5, 2016. Instead, she claims that Dr. Scott Baker took out her healthy right kidney, and is now suing him and his practice.

Knapp says that she now has an incurable and progressive disease in her remaining kidney, and is suffering from pain, fatigue, depression and mental distress.

According to Knapp’s lawsuit, the pathology department at Avera McKennan Hospital told Baker the day after the surgery that he had not removed the adrenal gland or the mass, which sit right above the kidney, and had instead removed her kidney, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports. But Baker claimed on Oct. 7 that he never heard from the hospital.

RELATED VIDEO: North Carolina Mom Has Foot Amputated After Discovering Tumor During Pedicure

Four days later, Baker allegedly called Knapp and said that he “did not get everything,” and part of her adrenal gland was still in her body, requiring a second surgery.

Knapp decided to undergo the second surgery to remove her adrenal gland and mass at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., rather than return to Baker’s practice at the Surgical Institute of Sioux Falls in South Dakota.

In a statement, the Surgical Institute of Sioux Falls tells PEOPLE that they are in the process of going through the lawsuit.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of those in our care and the integrity of our operations. We cannot discuss details because of patient confidentiality. We are aware of the complaint and are in the process of reviewing. We have respect for the legal process and therefore will not be making additional public comment on the matter at this time.”

The lawsuit also alleges that Knapp has been unable to keep up with her previous pace of life since the mistaken surgery, and “has required replacement services to clean and maintain her home, the past and future cost of which is yet to be determined.”

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Jenny Mollen Is Worried that Removing Her Thyroid to Treat Graves' Disease Will Cause Depression

Jenny Mollen’s thyroid issues are slowly improving, but “it’s such a roller coaster.”

The actress and author, 39, has Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid, causing hormonal issues like weight loss, fatigue and period issues.

Mollen says she’s hoping to avoid thyroid surgery to completely remove the gland.

“I’m hoping I don’t have to have my thyroid removed, but [my doctor is] telling me that I have to stay on the meds,” the mom of two tells PEOPLE at an event for Reebok’s new Pure Move Bra.

Mollen is nervous that removing her thyroid will lead to other hormonal issues.

“I have a girlfriend who had thyroid cancer, and she said, ‘I’ve got to be honest, I’m always a little depressed now, just because hormonally I’m off.’ She’s like, ‘I’m not my old self.’ And that scares the s— out of me,” Mollen says.

RELATED VIDEO: Jenny Mollen Reveals a Thyroid Problem Post-Pregnancy Has Caused Her to Rapidly Lose Weight

After hearing that, Mollen went searching for other opinions, and found them by opening up about her health issues on Instagram.

“I just wanted to hear if it would ever get better,” she explains.

Mollen found that sharing her experience on social media — despite the trolls — was helpful.

“My mom kind of said to me, don’t talk about it on Instagram, and at first I was so scared, I was like, I got this diagnosis and I felt like I was dying,” she says. “[But] I feel like I’m just on Instagram so much and watch other people push the envelope so much with things, and I’m like, okay if they’re talking about this I guess I can just double down and tell everyone.”

“I did need to find somebody else who’s living a normal life,” she adds.

And Mollen fully admits that she messes around with her medication a bit — to the chagrin of her doctor.

“She said I could go down to 5 milligrams from 20, because it pushed me to hypothyroidism, and she was like, ‘Are you still taking that? Because your blood work looks a little suspicious.’ And I was like, ‘Actually, I took myself down to 2.5 every other day.’ She’s like, well, don’t. It’s all about figuring out the right dosage,” Mollen says.

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Heat-driven air conditioning may contribute to additional deaths

(HealthDay)—In what can be described as a vicious catch-22, approximately 5 to 9 percent of exacerbated air-pollution-related deaths will be due to increases in power sector emissions from the extra air conditioning use resulting from climate change, according to a study published online July 3 in PLOS Medicine.

David W. Abel, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues used an interdisciplinary linked model system to quantify the impacts of heat-driven adaptation through cooling demand for buildings in the eastern United States on air-quality-related health outcomes in a representative midcentury climate scenario.

The researchers found that by midcentury, 3.8 percent of the total increase in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and 6.7 percent of the total increase in ozone (O3) will be attributable to extra air conditioning use (adaptation). Air conditioning adaptation will account for 654 of the PM2.5-related deaths, a 4.8 percent increase above climate change impacts alone (approximately $6 billion cost) and 315 of the O3-related deaths, an 8.7 percent increase above climate change impacts alone (approximately $3 billion cost).

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Autonomous gene expression control nanodevice will contribute to medical care: Scientists construct integrated gene logic-chips called ‘gene nanochips’

Gene expression is a fundamental of life, where each cell switches on and off specific genes. Thus, an autonomous device that could control the on-off switching would have great value in medical care.

Synthetic genetic circuits are a technology to control gene expression and program cells to perform desired functions. Therefore, increasing the complexity of the genetic circuit will allow us to control cell fates more accurately.

However, the complexity of genetic circuits remains low. This is because, in conventional reaction-diffusion systems, the enzymes and substrates are provided separately, and non-specific binding of the enzymes to the substrates causes unintended crosstalk among the different circuits.

Osaka University-led researchers, in a joint research project with The University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, and Waseda University, constructed integrated gene logic-chips called “gene nanochips.” Using integrated factors on the nanochips, these self-contained nanochips can switch genes on and off within a single chip, preventing unintended crosstalk.

The researchers showed the autonomous responses of the nanochips in artificial cells: environmental sensing, information computation and product output at the single-chip level. Their research results were published in Nature Nanotechnology.

DNA nanotechnology is a versatile method used to construct custom structures and to control precise molecular layouts. The researchers used a rectangular sheet (90 nm wide, 60 nm deep, 2 nm high), and integrated enzyme, RNA polymerase (RNAP, an enzyme that synthesizes RNA from a DNA template), and multiple target-gene substrates.

The nano-layout ability of DNA nanotechnology allows the researcher to rationally design gene expression levels by changing the intermolecular distances between the enzyme and the target genes, thus affecting the collision efficiency and subsequent reaction.

The researchers further integrated sensors. Ideally, a sensor that is capable of detecting any type of signal should have minimal design limitations. However, conventional methods have suffered from several limitations (e.g., materials). This is because, in conventional genetic circuits, the sensor is part of the substrate of the enzyme (e.g., DNA in transcription; see Note for detail).

Conversely, in this study, the sensor part was independent of the enzymatic reaction. Thus, the researchers can use any sensor materials that change the effective intermolecular distance on signal recognition, allowing the construction of various sensors responding to distinct signals (microRNAs, chemical compounds, proteins and light). Moreover, by combining and integrating sensors responding to distinct signals, the researchers have succeeded in photo-reprogramming of the genetic circuits.

Finally, the nanochip allowed the researchers to simplify the construction of a genetic circuit that responded to an artificial cell, a water-in-oil droplet, and they could compute its miRNA profile, by simply mixing the orthogonal chips, expanding the power of the genetic circuit.

Corresponding author Hisashi Tadakuma says, “All factors necessary for transcription reactions are on this integrated nanochip, so environmental sensing, information computation, and product output can be completed at the single-chip level. In the near future, autonomous nanochips will be useful in maintaining the cell in the healthy state through controlling gene expression spatially and temporally, which will embody the ideal of the saying ‘prevention is best cure’. “

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Our Steps Forward: Collaborating to Address the Unique Health Needs of African Americans

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, African Americans face a greater risk of death at almost every stage of life compared with other American racial and ethnic groups, and African Americans overall have a life expectancy more than three years shorter than that of non-African Americans.

Research shows that the issue goes beyond race and involves a complex set of structural barriers that are economic, political and historical in nature, as well as social determinants that continue to impair efforts to reduce health disparities.

The African American Health Engagement Study (AAHES), a collaboration of Pfizer, the National Medication Association (NMA) and the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) which commenced in 2017, examines the health attitudes and behaviors of African Americans and reveals important health-related cultural differences compared to other non-African American respondent groups. The study shows that there are significant opportunities to strengthen engagement among the African American community, health care providers and medical organizations, toward improving health and health outcomes among African Americans.

The following are some of the steps forward that surfaced from the African American Health Engagement Study.

Our Steps Forward

The results of the African American Health Engagement Study corroborate what many researchers have found over the last 50 years regarding African Americans’ health outcomes and attitudes toward health care. The AAHES reiterates the critical need for a culturally competent approach in any effort or action designed to reduce and eliminate racial health disparities. The AAHES supports community collaborations that engage trusted health care professionals as an important means to effectively respond to the health care needs of African Americans.

The AAHES suggests ways in which Pfizer, the NMA and the NBNA can partner to help:

  • Strengthen the capacity of African American health care provider organizations
  • Design health initiatives that consider social and cultural contexts
  • Motivate health-seeking behaviors in African Americans through health education and community initiatives
  • Focus on age and gender differences of African Americans
  • Build trust and cultural competency to increase diversity in clinical trials

The African American Health Engagement Study

Areas of focus in the AAHES include spiritual health relative to other dimensions of health; awareness of and attitudes towards clinical trial participation; perception of state of health; and level of motivation to take action on health. Key findings include:

  • 84% of African American study participants described themselves as “highly motivated to improve overall health,” compared with 76% of non-African American participants. Moreover, 75% of African American respondents claimed to be taking some action to stay healthy, compared to only 52% of non-African American respondents.
  • 67% of African Americans surveyed agreed with the statement “I will do better on my health tomorrow,” compared with 53% of non-African Americans surveyed.
  • 36% of all African American study participants ranked their overall health (including physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual health) as “very good” or “excellent,” compared to 43% of study participants in other groups.
  • 79% of African American study participants viewed spiritual health as extremely or very important to overall health and wellness, compared to 59% of non-African American participants. 45% of African Americans reported being satisfied with their body regardless of weight, compared to 36% of respondents in other groups.
  • 87% of African American participants believe African Americans are not well-represented in clinical trials, but only 33% of African American women and 41% of African American men stated that they would be willing to enroll in a trial if it means changing or starting medication.
  • When it comes to trusted sources of health and medical information, African American respondents said that they place their highest level of trust in medical organizations focused on African Americans.

How the Study Was Conducted

The African American Health Engagement Study (AAHES) commenced in January 2017 with 18 focus groups conducted by the HunterMiller Group with African American community members in Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia, followed by a nationwide quantitative questionnaire fielded in March and April of 2017 by the research firm Burke, Inc., with more than 2,000 participants (more than 1,000 in each group, African American and non-African American, with robust representation across age, gender, income and ethnicity groups in each cohort). Burke’s proprietary algorithm was used to validate responses.

At the time the questionnaire was fielded, 91% of African American respondents and 93% of non-African American respondents reported having health insurance coverage.

Conclusions and Final Considerations

Numerous public and private entities have piloted and practiced health interventions with varying degrees of success in terms of affecting African-American health outcomes. The best models empower African American doctors, health institutions, advocacy organizations and individuals. They incorporate African Americans’ cultural beliefs and address fears about health care systems, as well as lingering concerns about racial bias in health care. A collaborative approach to addressing health care issues in the African American community can only be successful through a sustainable plan of action that positively affects African Americans and works to build their trust and confidence in the health care community.

Read the full Executive Summary

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Burger King Released 2 New Jalapeño Sandwiches — & They're Very Hot

Summer may almost be over, but Burger King wants to keep it hot, hot, hot. Added to their menu for a limited time are two new, spicy sandwiches: the jalapeño King sandwich and the spicy crispy jalapeño chicken sandwich.

Burger King kept the launch pretty low-key, with no official press release, but the items can be found on their menu online. They’re both described as having a layer of spicy jalapeños, a slice of pepper jack cheese and a smattering of creamy green chili aioli. 

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Image: Burger King.

The spicy crispy jalapeño chicken sandwich is made with 100 percent white meat and breaded with bold flavors and "just the right amount of heat," topped off with thick-cut smoked bacon. 

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Image: Burger King.

The jalapeño King sandwich, on the other hand, is a stack of two grilled beef patties, totaling more than a half-pound of beef. Be warned, though: This sandwich clocks in at nearly 1,000 calories (990 to be exact), so you might want to hold off on eating this until your cheat day. The chicken sandwich has 760 calories.

Worried the sandwiches won’t be hot enough? Rest assured, they apparently are. One YouTuber immediately began coughing after one bite. "But it’s very fresh," he adds. "The pepper jack cheese makes it even spicier."

This isn’t the first time Burger King toyed around with jalapeño-flavored items, though. In 2016, the chain tested jalapeño chicken fries, a spicy twist on their original chicken fries. If these two new sandwiches become popular enough, maybe we’ll see the jalapeño chicken fries return.

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