Scientific Breakthrough! What Causes “Brain Freeze”
You can call it "brain freeze" or an "ice cream headache". No matter what you call it, it hurts! Sometimes it's so bad you wonder if you've done some sort of permanent damage!
You can get it from eating or drinking just about anything that is very cold. For me, it's ice cream or a Slurpee ( imagine an "R" with a circle around it here, I don't have a "registered trademark" key on my computer).
For years, the chilly phenomenon has baffled the medical community; but now thanks to your generous donations to the "Ice Cream Headache Charity" (Not really)..there is and answer!
So...here's why you get..."BRAIN FREEZE"..
Headaches are tough to study. Why? Well, because most research scientist are not there to study you when you get a headache. Now, the can induce a headache with certain drugs (yeah, that sounds like something we all want to take) (Have you ever noticed how many parenthetical phrases I use?) Where was I? Oh, yeah
The drug induced thing..the problem with the drug induced headache is just that..it's induced. It will give no clue as to why you get a headache. So, scientist decided to go "all natural" in their research. I can't imagine being a volunteer for this research but here's how it worked:
From Fox News:
The researchers brought on brain freeze in the lab by having 13 healthy volunteers sip ice water through a straw right up against the roof of their mouth. The volunteers raised their hands when they felt the familiar brain freeze come on, and raised them again once it disappeared.
The researchers monitored the blood flow through their brains using an ultrasoundlike process on the skull. They saw that increased blood flow to the brain through a blood vessel called the anterior cerebral artery, which is located in the middle of the brain behind the eyes. This increase in flow and resulting increase in size in this artery brought on the pain associated with brain freeze. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]
When the artery constricts, reining in the response to this increased flow, the pain disappears. The dilation, then quick constriction, of this blood vessel may be a type of self-defense for the brain, the researchers suggested.
This influx of blood can't be cleared as quickly as it is coming in during the brain freeze, so it could raise the pressure inside the skull and induce pain that way. As the pressure and temperature in the brain rise, the blood vessel constricts, reducing pressure in the brain before it reaches dangerous levels.
Despite the fact that a fun food (ie. Ice Cream, Slurpee) were involved in the research, this is no frivolous study. If scientist can understand what causes the pain of "brain freeze" it just may be that they can prevent migraines and other causes of headaches! That, my friends, is great news to anyone who has regular headaches.
I hope you find these links useful!
Thanks to FOX news for the story!