From BBC Future, 10 November 2015:
It used to be called ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’: a collection of symptoms such as headache, nausea and a strange numbness that certain people seem to suffer after a meal of Chinese food, which went beyond the usual queasiness and self-loathing at having eaten one too many barbecued pork buns. The ingredient allegedly to blame is a commonly used seasoning called monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG.
Monosodium glutamate’s notoriety took off in 1968 when Dr Ho Man Kwok wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine musing about the possible causes of a syndrome he experienced whenever he ate at Chinese restaurants in the US. In particular, he described a feeling of numbness at the back of his neck that then spread to his arms and back, as well as general weakness and heart palpitations. Read more.