Hey Everyone, my name is Dr Mike Tranter, and I’m a neuroscientist writing a book where I explain the brain in a fun and simple way. I asked people from all over the world to submit their questions for me to answer in the book, and I got some really interesting ones. Questions that I had not thought about much myself, but really sparked my own curiosity.
One example is about brain freeze. I mean, what actually is brain freeze?
OK, firstly, because I am writing this blog as a scientist, I should at least try and use the correct medical term for brain freeze (also called ice cream headache) which is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. You know what, on second thought, that is a bit of a mouthful so I think we can stick to brain freeze for this part after all. Brain freeze happens when you eat or drink something icy too quickly, causing you to experience a rapid and intense headache which thankfully goes away just as quickly.
When you rapidly change the temperature at the back of your throat near two important arteries, the brain really doesn’t like it, because these two arteries are crucial for the brain. The carotid artery takes blood to the brain, and the cerebral artery distributes it around. The sudden temperature change causes a dramatic increase in the blood through both arteries, which the brain notices.
The pain comes when temperature receptors that line the brain’s membrane notice the change and send out messages to the brain. The main nerve for the face and head is activated and causes an intense feeling which the brain interprets as pain so that you stop whatever it is you’re doing (like eating your body weight in ice cream like a champion). Brain freeze happens as a way for your body to tell you that the sensation is too intense. The brain likes things to be nice and consistent. It enjoys nothing better than living a boring life where everything is nice, controlled, and safe.
Once the mouth and throat warm-up, the blood vessels get smaller, and the blood flow reverts back to normal, which doesn’t take long. Although the feeling of brain freeze is not very pleasant and can feel like something serious, it really isn’t. Even the strongest headache from brain freeze is simply an intense signal from your brain, and nothing more. There has never been a recorded case of someone dying from it or having any other side effects other than an aversion to ice cream, momentarily, of course.
Interestingly, people who suffer from migraines are more likely to experience brain freeze. Exactly why this happens is not fully understood, but it is being researched in an attempt to find new drugs for migraines.
So, there we have it. A short explanation of what brain freeze is and why we get it. Although, nothing is going to stop me from eating ice cream as fast as I can. I just enjoy it too much.
If you want to learn more about the brain, and what is really going on in it, then check out my book, A Million Things To Ask A Neuroscientist—the brain made easy, and I am sure you will find out some more interesting things you never expected.
Publication Date: March 11, 2021
A Million Things To Ask A Neuroscientist answers some of the most asked questions about the brain, making the science fun and accessible to everyone. Inside, you will journey through some of the most interesting and strange things that our brain does every single day.
Have you always wanted to know just what a memory actually is, or why we dream? What is our consciousness? Why do some people seem to ‘click’ with others? And can our brain really multi-task?
Michael Tranter PhD will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
Dr Mike Tranter is from the North of England and studied how drugs work in our body, but it wasn’t long before he found his true calling as a neuroscientist. After a PhD in neuroscience, he spent years in research labs all over the world, studying how the brain works. Although, it is his prominent rise as a science communicator, opening up the world of neuroscience to everybody, that he enjoys the most.
March 15: Deborah-Zenha Adams
March 16: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
March 17: It’s Raining Books
March 18: Westveil Publishing
March 19: The Avid Reader
March 22: Fabulous and Brunette
March 23: Our Town Book Reviews
March 24: Andi’s Book Reviews
March 25: Long and Short Reviews
March 26: Wake Up Your Wild Side
March 26: Novels Alive
March 29: Becoming Extraordinary
March 30: BooksChatter
March 31: All the Ups and Downs
March 31: Viviana MacKade – review
April 1: The Adventures of a Travelers Wife – review only
April 2: Hurn Publications – review only
April 2: Travel the Ages – review only
Thanks for hosting!
Thanks Dayna for posting my blog. I hope people enjoy the sneak peak into the book and I am happy to answer any questions or comments people have.
Have a nice day everyone
You’re most welcome, Mike!
Sounds like a good book.
Happy Friday – thanks for sharing the great post!