Research into child ice cream ‘brain freeze’ continues

Have you ever heard of a condition called ‘brain-freeze’? We usually experience it first as a child when having a bite of ice-cream causes your head to start hurting, think blood-rush in the head. This phenomenon has puzzled scientists for a long time; what is it that triggers headaches after drinking icy cold water or eating icy cold food like ice-cream?

Recent research shows that drinking ice-cold fluid or eating ice-cold food can cause headaches and migraines, which allows hope for new solutions in treatment of migraine and other headaches. Reports from one of significant American conferences claimed that headaches are also a difficult subject to research because of the unpredictability of the seizures.

A head freeze is easily triggered and can hence be researched in laboratory conditions as a whole process. A United States research team from Harvard School of Medicine conducted an experiment by monitoring the blood-flow to the brain while their subjects were drinking either icy water or luke-warm water. People used straws for drinking, so that the liquid was affecting the mouth-roof. The subjects reported changes such as start of headaches and when the pain was relieved.

The research concluded that the headaches were triggered by simultaneous opening of the anterior cerebral artery that flooded the brain with blood. Both events seemed to coincide.

When the artery returned to its normal functioning, the headaches were gone, as was reported at the Conference on Experimental Biology, while one of Harvard researchers, Jorge Serrador, comments that this could be a self-preserving technique that the body uses to keep the brain warm and operative as long as possible as to increase the chances of survival in extreme conditions.

Hopefully the findings of this research can help with the development of new techniques in migraine and headaches treatment.

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