MDMA, Third Thumbs, and Tooth Regeneration

MDMA, Third Thumbs, and Tooth Regeneration
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Each Friday, I gather all the stories about health and sports technologies – "wellness," "fitness," whatever – that I've seen over the past week. It's all in an attempt to identify the prevailing narratives about the future of our minds and bodies. I've been doing this about a year now – indeed, next week will mark the one year anniversary of Second Breakfast – and I'll be honest: I still don't know that I have a good grasp on what the hell is going on. I mean, just look at the title of today's newsletter. What the actual fuck is going on with health technology, folks?!

Hyrox held one of its big glitzy competitions in NYC last weekend. The sport, which combines running with a variety of functional fitness tests, is growing in popularity. Launched in Germany back in 2017, Hyrox has garnered lots of high-profile coverage lately, arguably surpassing pickleball as the "hot new fitness trend." Some dude named Lance Armstrong apparently won his age group in last weekend's competition, showing once again that there are no absolutely no real long-term consequences for white men in sports.

Elsewhere, 10K world record holder Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto has been given a six year ban for violating anti-doping rules.

"Is Hyrox the New CrossFit?" The New York Times asked earlier this spring. Is CrossFit the new AMA, wonders CrossFit, which just launched its own medical society to educate health care professionals and to promote CrossFit as healthcare. God forbid we work towards folks having access to actual healthcare.

In other stories about performing "healthism," "This Doctor Pioneered Counting Calories a Century Ago, and We’re Still Dealing With the Consequences" – Michelle Stacey on the legacy of Lulu Hunt Peters in Smithsonian Magazine.

And the latest update from the world of running, gels, and nutritionism: the GoFundMe campaign started in the wake of speculation about the nutritional content of Spring Energy Gels has come back with lab results that seem to confirm that there are far far fewer carbs and calories in the company's Awesome Sauce gels than what the nutritional info promised. (The investigation also tested a number of other popular gels and their calories and carbs were all in line with the label.) All this is a good reminder, I reckon, for athletes that, even if they don't think they're personally going to be drug-tested for banned substances, it's still best to take supplements that are third-party-certified by organizations like Informed Sport.

Body and mind: "The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among college students rose to 7.5 percent in 2022, more than double the rate five years earlier," The New York Times reports. Meanwhile, the FDA has rejected MDMA-aided therapy for PTSD. MDMA, also known as "ecstasy" is often described as fostering feelings of empathy, self-awareness, and connection. But, you know, "illegal drug" and whatnot. "An independent group of experts expressed concerns that the data from clinical trials did not outweigh risks for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder."

I honestly thought this was a Simone Giertz thing at first.

"Researchers," what are you thinking: Researchers at Cambridge University have developed a robotic thumb "designed to help you enhance productivity at work." Hahaha, yeah. No. No to "enhanced productivity at work," just on principle. And a big no to a third thumb, thanks. "World-first tooth-regrowing drug will be given to humans in September," New Atlas says. Researchers at Kyoto University Hospital will run a trial on 30-year-old males (of course) who are missing molars. Good luck, boys. "Men and other mammals live longer if they are castrated," according to researcher Cat Bohannon. Paging Bryan Johnson? Actually, don't. Don't page him.

I wrote (among other things) about the beef between runners Jakob Ingebrigsten and Josh Kerr in Monday's "Extra Mile." (Bonus content for paid subscribers, yo.) Despite Ingebrigsten's loss at this year's "Bowerman Mile," Outside's Alex Hutchinson insists that "the 'Norwegian Method' Training Craze Is Here to Stay." This method involves high-intensity workouts, "pushing just hard enough to stimulate adaptation without incurring fatigue that would compromise the next workout. In Ingebrigtsen’s hands, that involves twice-a-week double threshold sessions: workouts like ten times a kilometer with one minute recovery in the morning and evening, with regular ear pricks to check lactate levels and keep the intensity in the right zone." Datafied optimization, par excellence.

Of course, "regular folks" don't do blood draws to check their lactate levels; they check their fitness watches, which give them an approximation of this information about their health. Funny then, as, The Guardian's Eva Wiseman observes, that health trackers "can push you off the road to wellness." Meanwhile, FitBit has launched a "gamified fitness watch for kids." And Samsung will soon be launching the Galaxy Ring, a new health wearable. It's also filed a lawsuit against Oura, which also makes a popular wellness-tracking ring. The suit "aims to ward off potential litigation from Oura, which is known for aggressive IP enforcement." Samsung, for its part, also has a long history of suing companies over intellectual property. (Namely Apple.)

Other miscellanea the industry is funding/buying/hyping/hustling: "Sword Health Raises $130M at $3B Valuation for AI-Powered Healthcare." "Allez Health Raises $60M for [Continuous Glucose Monitoring] Biosensor." "A little-known startup is automating IVF with robots and AI. It could change infertility forever," says leading expert on fertility and reproductive health Business Insider. The Wall Street Journal notes the uptick Asics stock. Apparently "dad sneakers" are cool, or something?

Cooler than "dad sneakers": Richard Simmons is reportedly planning a Broadway show about his life. "The show would create an open space near the stage where theatergoers could join in workout dance numbers." If this is true, then I am there. I am so there.

Way fucking cooler, still: skateboarder Arisa Trew has become the first woman to land a 900. (via

Thanks for reading Second Breakfast. Your support – whether through a paid subscription or not – helps make this possible, as it's much easier to write when you have an audience. That said, I am offering a discount on annual subscriptions this summer to celebrate the newsletter's first birthday. Paid subscribers get an additional newsletter on Mondays where my thoughts are even more disorganized than in these Friday missives.