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Tags: brain | freeze | migraines

Clues to Cause of ‘Brain Freeze’

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 01:39 PM EDT

Scientists have identified what may cause that sudden “brain freeze” that comes from eating an ice cream cone or drinking a frosty beverage too quickly on a hot day: Changes in blood flow that mirror what happens in migraine sufferers.
The findings, presented at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting in San Diego this week, may eventually lead to new treatments for other types of headache.
"The brain is one of the relatively important organs in the body, and it needs to be working all the time," said Jorge Serrador of Harvard Medical School, who helped lead the research. "It's fairly sensitive to temperature."
The research team noted migraine sufferers are more likely to experience “brain freeze” than people who don't have this often-debilitating condition, and sought to determine if a common mechanism is at work.
For the study – conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard, the Department of Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System and the National University of Ireland – scientists induced “brain freeze” in the lab in 13 volunteers and studied blood flow in their brains. The researchers show that the sudden headache seems to be triggered by an abrupt increase in blood flow in one particular blood vessel -- the anterior cerebral artery -- and disappears when this artery constricts.
Serrador and his colleagues speculated that the increase in blood flow in response to cold may be to keep the brain warm – and safe from injury -- noting similar alterations in blood flow are at work in migraines, posttraumatic headaches, and other headache types.
The findings could lead to new ways to treat such conditions with drugs that control blood flow.

© HealthDay

Findings could lead to new headache, migraine treatments, experts say.
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 01:39 PM
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