Curio of the day Wednesday 12th November

The Daily Curio

Curio #497 - Brain freeze no more

A curious fact for November 12, 2014 from Justin Kitch, Curious CEO

Whether you call it a brain freeze, an ice cream headache, or by its technical name (sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia), everybody knows its teeth-rattling pain. This phenomenon is our brain's response to the back of our throat getting cold too quickly. Our mouths are extremely vascular--that's why we take our temperatures there--and at the back is the juncture where two important arteries feed the brain. When those arteries get cold they contract, causing the body to send more warm blood to dilate (reopen) the arteries. This contraction-dilation cycle is interpreted by the brain as dangerous, so it triggers a pain signal even through there are no pain sensors in that area of the body. The result is a weird pain-like sensation that isn't quite like real pain because the brain is fabricating it to get our attention. It turns out it's pretty easy to fool the brain back. Just curl your tongue and press the warm underside against the roof of your mouth. Instant brain freeze cure! How's that for some practical lifelong learning?

1 Reply

  • Great tip.

    I know the brain is a strange bit of kit. I watch a program some years ago that explained what can happen when we get fevers and our brain does not cope so well. It does a great job of working out the body size etc and allows for the fact that some nerves are closer at certain parts of the body which are our high sensitivity areas hands lips tongue etc.

    But when the fever hits the brain can make all the spaces seem the same distance apart. The affect it has is you feel like you have huge hands, feet, lips and tongue.

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