Health News: Scientists Study Migraines by Cracking Brain Freeze Mystery - Các nhà khoa học nghiên cứu bệnh Migratnes bằng cách giải mã bí mật chứng đông não
BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
Scientists say they’ve figured out a mysterious ailment that’s plagued most of us since our first slushie — brain freeze. HLN has more.
“Well now scientists say they know what causes it. They say brain freeze happens when a lot more blood flows through a certain artery that’s behind your eyes.”
The research wasn’t just to solve the mystery of what causes brain freeze. There’s a more serious application — the researchers hope to gain insight into migraines, which affect more than 30 million Americans. LiveScience explains.
“Previous studies have found that migraine sufferers are actually more likely to get brain freeze than people who don't get migraines. Because of this, the researchers thought the two might share some kind of common mechanism or cause, so they decided to use brain freeze to study migraines.”
As common as migraines are, it’s actually tough to study them directly. Researchers can wait until a subject has a migraine then bring them to the lab, or they can induce a migraine with drugs. An American Physiological Society press release says both of those methods have a downside.
“Pharmacological agents can induce other effects that can make research results misleading … and since researchers can’t wait for migraine sufferers to experience a migraine in the lab, those studies miss the crucial period of headache formation that occurs sometimes hours before scientists were able to study these patients.”
So researchers decided to use brain freeze as a stand-in. They had subjects drink cold water through a straw aimed at the roofs of their mouths, monitoring blood flow in their heads the whole time. They saw a main artery flood the brain with blood as the brain freeze set in.
A Washington Post blogger explains what that might mean.
“...in response to the sensation of severe cold, the body floods the brain with warm blood to keep that vital organ operating. But because the brain is stuck inside an inflexible skull, the flood of blood might increase pressure, which likely hurts.”
The researchers say that same artery could play a role in other headaches, and drugs that constrict arteries might alleviate migraines. But not everyone is convinced. ABC spoke to other specialists who say more research is needed.
“...experts not involved in the study argued that the majority of headaches are not caused by alterations in blood flow. Migraine, for example, is widely considered to be a brain disorder, not a blood vessel disorder. While the study may be a great model for ice cream headaches … it's too big a leap to tie the findings to other types of headaches.”
So the research may or may not help treat migraines, but at least the next time you get an ice cream headache, remember — it’s just your body protecting your brain. That’s some comfort, right?