The Atlantic

Answers to Every Possible Thanksgiving Health Question

When dealing with opinionated family members, how much alcohol is too much? Has anyone’s stomach actually burst from eating too much? Why am I apparently unable to digest entire kernels of corn?
Source: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In what has become an annual tradition, here are this year’s questions about human health and social well-being as they relate to the U.S. holiday known as Thanksgiving.


Can forcing a smile for an extended period of time cause a brain aneurysm?

It’s unlikely. It’s technically possible if forcing a smile means you’re stressed and your blood pressure is high. You’d have to be smiling and experiencing stress for a very long time, though, much longer than a day. Once formed, aneurysms can burst in moments of intense anxiety. But it’s very unlikely, and worrying about this doesn’t help.

A group of neurosurgeons at Cleveland Clinic reported that among male patients, aneurysm ruptures happen most often in late fall. This could be related to the holidays, though the researchers were more convinced by the onset of Ohio winter, writing that their finding “suggests that weather is causally related to aneurysm rupture in men.”

(I’m not convinced, because for women the most common time of rupture was early spring. And why break

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