Brain Freeze! Science Searches for Cause of Ice Cream Headaches
It’s really no secret why we all scream for ice cream; the real mystery is what makes us cry out “brain freeze!” after sucking down way too much of our chocolate malt way too fast.
Go ahead and grab another Blizzard … you might want a sip while we drop some brain freeze science.
CNN reports that a new study finds when volunteers drank ice water through straws pressed against the roofs of their mouths, they let researchers know when their brain freeze pain started and when it stopped.
Researchers measured blood flow velocity, and they found that it amped up in the anterior cerebral artery when the freeze kicked in and “the artery then constricted as the volunteers’ pain subsided,” according to the network.
So, yeah, brain freeze is real, but Jorge Serrador, the lead author of the study, tells CNN what causes the actual pain is still unclear.
Higher pressure that has to do with the increased blood flow could be to blame, he says, but it could also be because of the cold hitting a nerve or even just a matter of the brain not liking cold stuff very much.
What’s interesting is that the study was about much more than just explaining why a mouthful of icy, creamy deliciousness can quickly turn to feeling like you’re being jabbed with an ice pick behind your eyes. Inducing brain freeze is a fairly easy way for scientists to cause headaches, and without the use of drugs. There was hope that this study could teach doctors a thing or two about headaches in general, but further research is needed, Dr. Seymour Diamond, the co-founder of the National Headache Foundation, tells CNN.
“I’m wary of the results,” he tells the network. “I don’t think this is going to be a breakthrough for migraine or post-concussion headaches.”
Maybe, instead of using ice water, they should try using Ben & Jerry’s Addicted to Chocolate shakes on the test subjects? We’d volunteer!
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