Brain freeze season is upon us

At the start of the summer you might have seen one of the many articles that discussed ice cream headaches and how they might be related to migraines.

The bad news is that this research study was actually misguided and it actually tells us nothing about migraines. At the same time, it does potentially identify a new research tool which at least could be helpful in the future.

For those who do not know the study asked 13 volunteers to drink a cold drink fast enough to get an ‘ice cream headache’ and then observed that the pain occurs when blood vessels expand and end once the blood vessels return to their normal size, or constrict. As you might guess, this does not have anything to do with migraines. It’s already an accepted fact that blood vessels in the brain will contract and expand during a migraine attack.

What is perhaps more notable though is the fact that most leading migraine researchers now stated that they do not think vascular activity is to blame for the onset of a migraine. In other words, the process may occur during an attack but is not actually the reason that an attack occurs.

The one up side of the study is that researchers did at least propose the idea of using brain freeze in the future for other studies and perhaps even to induce a migraine attack so that they can be studied. There are medical ways to induce a migraine, but there are some side effects that can distort data so perhaps this new method may be a bit more helpful for future research efforts.


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