Doctors in the house, what causes the dreaded "Brain Freeze"?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Inspector Hammer!, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I've never heard or read a clear explanation as to what causes this most painful phenominon whenever we humans eat something cold too fast.

    I've heard the typical rumors that rubbing your tongue on the roof of your mouth will stop a brain freeze, but it doesn't work.

    What is the brain freeze, where does it start and why does it start and why does it always find it's way right between your eyes and hurt like hell for 10-15 seconds? [​IMG]
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I hope this thread gets an answer. I've wondered the same things. Especially now that I've learned that my wife has never experienced a brain freeze, I'd love to know what causes it to figure out why some people might not be affected.
     
  3. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    No scientific terms here as I learned this while watching some Discovery type show on TV a few years back...

    Brain freeze happens when the cold hits the roof of your mouth..There's a nerve there which reacts to the cold and causes blood vessels in the brain to swell briefly.

    You can stop it almost immediately usually by pressing your tounge up against the roof of your mouth and keeping it there or if that doesn't work by drinking warm water. Key is to warm the roof of your mouth back up.

    It happens to some people, but not to others because of the way each person eats ice cream or other cold foods. If you don't let it touch the roof of your mouth, or don't let it come into contact for too long, you won't get brain freeze...But people have different thresholds far as the nerve goes and people don't react to it equally.
     
  4. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

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    Headaches are usually caused by dilation of blood vessels in the brain. I believe there are nerves on the roof of the mouth which triggers this....I suppose the cold does this and signals are sent to the brain, whereby vessels dilate to increase the bloodflow. Basically, because the brain thinks the whole body is gonna get cold, it tries to save the brain.
    Now, it has been noted that this occurs more to people who has had or are prone to migraines. So, its safe to say that Seth's wife has not had any migraines?

    Frankly, I always thought it was the ethmoid sinuses at the bridge of the nose that causes that.
     
  5. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    Aren't they contracting instead of swelling? Cold shrinks things, as we males know... Shrinks the blood vessel but not the blood inside, that would create more pressure inside the vessel which in turn could explain the pain.
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I alwyas knew it was when the nerves in the roof of your mouth get frozen, but here's an interesting explanation...Source

    That's why your tongue usually helps - it raises the temp (of the roof of your mouth) just enough to get rid of your headache.
     
  7. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    From Newsweek Magazine:

     
  8. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    Could be I got it backwards, and of course your post reminded me of George Costanza defending his "manhood" and saying there was definite shrinkage. [​IMG]
     
  9. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    Physiologically, that would not make sense.

    When your brain senses cold, the idea is to send more blood to the brain. By bringing more warm blood to the cold areas, the brain is warmed.

    If vessels constricted, the brain would get colder.
     
  10. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    [​IMG]

    The brain itself has no pain sensors. The "brain-freeze" has nothing to do with your brain. It's simply a severe pain that's projected in your brain: a sensation you locate slightly at a different place than where it really is (ever had the dentist hit a "nerve"? Feels like the drill just hit the inner backside of your skull).

    Indeed the top of the mouth/nose region (cavity) is extremely sensitive to cooling. Probably quite necessary as a general precaution: don't eat food that's too cold!

    Freezing your skin is already painful, but there the sensitivity is rougher, and your skin is principally dry. But your gum and the lining of your mouth cavity contain more blood vessels and the gum is inherently wet. So it's more susceptible to freezing, which would be really bad. Not to mention the dangers that may follow in the rest of the track.

    The first reaction to severe cooling of the mouth is a contraction of the blood vessels (to avoid too much conducting of the cold) and local muscles. That will stay for a minute or so, and that's what causes the "brain-freezing" sensation.

    Eating, and selected what we eat, is absolutely vital, so sensations connected with it seem almost always overdone: poop doesn't just smell bad, it STINKS. Miniscule particle? SNEEZE (blocking almost any other activity for the moment). Freezing your mouth top doesn't feel a bit painful, it contracts all your eating muscles and seems to stop your brain.




    Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. For our next lesson, tomorrow, we will be discussing that other strange and interesting, but very difficult to explain phenomenon, the brain-fart.

    (FAQ: why doesn't it stink?, how does the fart get that high up there?, does it influence the voluminal weight of the brain?, if a fart is basically air, which is lighter than water, why don't ALL farts come out of my brain?.)


    Cees
     
  11. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Dr. Cees:

    The age old question; Why do we only like the smell of our own farts?

    It HAS to be psychological.
     
  12. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Uhhh....speak for yourself there, fella. [​IMG]


    EDIT: I walked away from the computer and it occurred to me that my response could be mis-interpreted to mean.....awww....nevermind.
     
  13. PhillJones

    PhillJones Second Unit

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    The nerve in question is the trigeminal, it's one of the 7 cranial nerves. It's also important for migraine, where over-excitation of the trigeminal afferants causes swelling of the dura (skull lining that protects the brain.).

    As far as pressure goes. The blood volume in the brain is not constant, so constriction of the vessels doesn't cause an increase in pressure. What happens when pressure causes a headache is that dilation of vessels causes an increase in blood volume, causeing the blood vessels to expand, the brain swells and increases pressure is in the cranial cavity.

    Caffine can make headaches go away if they're caused by intra-cranial pressure by causing vasoconstriction. The headache of caffine (and nicotine) withdrawal is because the blood vessels adapt to a certain level of vasoconstrictive elements. When you withdraw them, the vessels dilate.
     
  14. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Actually, Professor, there are 24 cranial nerves (twelve pair).
     
  15. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    [​IMG]
     
  16. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    We're just too relieved we lost it. [​IMG]


    In fact, it's an observation made by Freud ("The own turd doesn't stink"), and rather interesting.

    If you - my apology that I have to resort to writing about a subject like this, but it is scientific - leave your production long enough to psychologically detach yourself from it (say 5 minutes), it starts to smell badly.

    Apparently we can stand being close to it "while you're busy", which, I think, is a sheer necessity of life. [​IMG]

    The subject is more interesting if you know that research has shown that "disgust" or "temptation" of smells are not absolute. There even exist two kinds of odors: the ones making the particular smell, and the ones enhancing it: determining if we like it or not. So the same smell can attract you or deter.

    Back to the fart: you do observe that a particular one stinks terribly, you just don't mind, because it's yours. You wouldn't accept "it" from another person, though.


    Cees
     
  17. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    That's kind of what I figured...Kind of like when you have a nasty cut and you show it off to your friends (to gross them out) - you're less grossed out with your own 'grossness' than if someone else showed you the same grossness.
     
  18. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Oy...the term "thread crap" has now taken on an entirely new meaning. [​IMG]
     
  19. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Thread crap /= crap thread.

    [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  20. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    Am I the only one enjoying the irony that Cees, who I've been led to believe is Dutch and there by from the home country of "The Dutch Oven", has an explanation to why ones farts doesn't smell to oneself??

    [​IMG]
     

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