Skip to comments.Cause of Brain Freeze Revealed
Posted on 04/23/2012 4:04:02 AM PDT by shove_it
Most people have likely experienced brain freeze the debilitating, instantaneous pain in the temples after eating something frozen but researchers didn't really understand what causes it, until now.
Previous studies have found that migraine sufferers are actually more likely to get brain freeze than people who don't get migraines. Because of this, the researchers thought the two might share some kind of common mechanism or cause, so they decided to use brain freeze to study migraines.
Headaches like migraines are difficult to study, because they are unpredictable. Researchers aren't able to monitor a whole one from start to finish in the lab. They can give drugs to induce migraines, but those can also have side effects that interfere with the results. Brain freeze can quickly and easily be used to start a headache in the lab, and it also ends quickly, which makes monitoring the entire event easy.
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
This makes no sense from a thermodynamic standpoint. The flow doesn’t increase due to cold. If anything the blood vessel becomes constricted due to the drop in temperature and the flow of blood staying the same (heart keeps a pumpin) increases the pressure against the vessel wall which then pushes against the surrounding area.
It also explains both the thumb against the roof (someone else noted) which cuts off the flow thus limiting the pressure buildup further up the chain - and the 2nd way I know of which is to place a cold item on your forehead which constricts an adjacent area limiting the impact to the first.
cold increases flow...right
They still love you anyway.
Comment #15 Removed by Moderator
Did they study liberals to confirm this?
Hot tea works much better for me when I start getting migraine-y.
I accidentally used a photo with a Getty Images copyright, which is verboten on FR. I asked the mod to delete the post which he or she did. Don’t need to cause legal issues for JimRob.
Too bad, it was right on target.
And all this time I thought the pain from brain freeze was the cold stimulating the maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve, thus causing a neuralgia... hmmm, learned something today
I’ve had some who suffered from migraines say hands in the water helped prevent / ameliorate their migraines.
They were studying cause not effect. And migraines, not sinus headaches.
Hadn't thought of this but I have had brain freeze and sinus headaches for years. I can control brain freeze by not instigating it with extreme cold but the sinus headache rolls on it's own and I can't predict it.
I do know that caffeine helps with sinus headaches.
So does throwing up (maybe that takes the pressure off of the thing they mentioned). And, yes, I have hurt enough to provoke vomiting.
Caffeine (with pressure on system) works, too.
Had never heard of this; good to know it now so I don't have to vomit to take the pressure off.
Although the study may sound silly to you, it has indeed contributed to our knowledge base about how the brain works.
Having been a life long sufferer of migraines, I appreciate any advance towards finding their cause and a treatment to prevent them. While it’s been long known that migraines are caused by vascular activity, it’s still not known what causes that. Only time and more studies are going to figure it out.
And, BTW, as is often the case, research into one subject can lead to insights into something completely outside the scope of the study. This may be one of those examples.