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If you’ve ever taken a slurp out of a really cold beverage and experienced an excruciating head pain right after, you’re familiar with what is commonly known as a “brain freeze”. Up until now, researchers didn’t really understand what causes brain freeze, but a new study speculated that there was some connection between brain freeze, migraine headaches, and the brain.

By subjecting participants to brain freeze, researchers were unable to uncover a curious link between migraine headaches and brain freeze. Thirteen healthy participants were instructed to drink ice cold water out of a straw placed right against the roof of their mouths. The volunteers raised their hands when they experienced brain freeze and then again when the brain freeze stopped. The researchers monitored the participants’ blood flow to the brain using ultrasound-like technology on the skull. Ultimately, they found that a blood vessel in an area of the brain known as the anterior cerebral artery, which is located in the middle of the brain behind the eyes, experienced increased blood flow. The increased blood flow enlarged that artery, causing the pain associated with brain freeze.

Doctor Jorge Serrador, of Harvard Medical School, says that the brain is extremely sensitive to temperature and if vasodilation occurs it is harder for the brain to move the blood back out of the artery as quickly as it comes in during brain freeze, resulting in pressure and head pain. If migraine headaches work the same way as brain freeze, then doctors could develop a drug that would prevent the blood vessel from opening up and or constrict the vessel to relieve the headache.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Juliann Calvey

    I like this post. brain freeze! Luckily enough of us suffer that there's lots of grant money for lots of research. Anyway, i suffered from migraines early on and then debilitating migraine-associated vertigo. meds took the edge off, but i was forced to get my body into a really healthy state in order to rid myself of this horrible illness. stoprockin.com

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