In Natalie Woods' last film, "Brainstorm," scientists learned how to experience what's in someone else's mind. While trying to find out what's behind the brainstorm of a migraine headache, researchers examined ultrasound scans of people drinking ice-cold water and experiencing "ice-cream brain," or brain freeze. And they were frozen in their tracks by what they discovered.
Let's see what you know about brain freeze: When a spoonful of ice cream hits the roof of your mouth, resulting in a piercing headache, do you think the veins in your head contract and pain results from restricted blood flow? Well, much to the surprise of the Harvard scientists, what happens is just the opposite.
Located close to the roof of your mouth and running up into the middle of your brain is the anterior cerebral artery. When suddenly chilled, it dilates so the brain will continue to get enough blood. This increase in blood flow causes what we call ice-cream brain.
So, what does this tell you about avoiding or triggering migraine? Well, some docs believe migraines are not triggered by vascular contractions or dilations. They say migraines are caused by excitement of a nerve near the anterior cerebral artery, not by the artery itself. But we think it may be the change in artery size that stimulates nerve activity. Whatever turns out to be the case, the new findings confirmed one thing: ice cream - or, better: healthy nonfat, no-sugar-added, frozen yogurt - should be enjoyed slowly, one lick at a time.
© 2012 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.