Tags: brain freeze | ice cream headache | migraine treatment | Harvard researchers

'Brain Freeze' Discovery May Lead to Migraine Treatment

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 07:04 AM

Researchers say they have found the cause of the infamous "brain freeze," also known as an ice cream headache.

Scientists say the discovery may help in developing new treatments for migraine headaches, which plague about 20 percent of the population.

According to the study at Harvard Medical School, scientists found that so-called "brain freeze" headaches are caused by a rush of blood into the anterior cerebral artery while the brain struggles to stay warm after a blast of cold.

The ache stopped once blood flow was restricted, said the Telegraph.

"The brain is one of the relatively important organs in the body, and it needs to be working all the time," said researcher Jorge Serrador of Harvard Medical School, according to Live Science.

"It's fairly sensitive to temperature, so vasodilation (the widening of the blood vessels) might be moving warm blood inside tissue to make sure the brain stays warm."

In the study, researchers induced brain freeze on 13 volunteers sucking ice water through a straw that shot water to the roof of their mouths.

The volunteers were told to raise their hands at its onset and when it went away.

Looking at blood flow alterations like those that occurred during brain freezes could help in studying migraines, researchers said, according to Medical News Today.

Learning how to control the brain's blood flow may help offer new treatments for this debilitating problem.

Copyright Global Post 2012

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The discovery of why brain freeze, also known as an ice cream headache, causes pain may lead to treatments for migraine sufferers, Harvard researchers say.
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Tuesday, 24 April 2012 07:04 AM
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