Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • This business you've got going on up here... is a mess.

  • No, you look fine! I'm talkin' about all the nerves and blood vessels that you have crammed

  • into your face.

  • The trouble with your face is that you have all of your major sensory organs just right

  • there, within a few centimeters of each other, and they're all situated right around your

  • brain.

  • Now that's handy; short paths for communication and everything. But it also means that they

  • all feed into the same major nerves and blood vessels that lead right in to your gray matter.

  • This can lead into a lot of crossed wires; stimuli that are sensed by one organ can accidentally

  • trigger another.

  • This is why bright light can sometimes make you sneeze or a plucked nose hair will make

  • your eyes water. And it's also what causes the brain freeze, aka The Ice Cream Headache!

  • It's a real thing and doctors have a real name for it: spenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.

  • Because brain freeze wasn't good enough.

  • About a third of people are particularly susceptible to this kind of nerve pain, and it happens

  • whenever you ingest a lot of something really cold, like a frozen treat, too quickly.

  • When that frozen stuff hits the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat, it shocks

  • the one spot that you really don't want to shock: the place where two of your brain's

  • most important blood suppliers meet, the internal carotid artery, which feeds blood to your

  • whole brain, and your anterior cerebral artery, which runs up along the front of your brain

  • and sits right on the brain tissue.

  • When the junction of these arteries gets too cold, they start to rapidly contract.

  • So the brain sends extra blood there to try to warm them up again, which makes the blood

  • vessels expand really quickly.

  • All this contracting and expanding triggers pain receptors in the outer covering of the

  • brain, called the meninges, where those arteries meet.

  • But even though the pain is actually being triggered around the base of your brain, the

  • pain signal has to travel through the biggest nerve in your whole head, the trigeminal nerve,

  • which is responsible for ALL of the sensation in your face.

  • The result is that the pain is actually felt somewhere else, usually in the forehead or

  • on the top of the head, or behind the eyes. Just another care of crossed wires!

  • Some neurologists are actually studying the dynamics of brain freeze so that they can

  • better understand other kinds of nerve pain, particularly migraines.

  • Because migraine sufferers tend to get ice cream headaches more often than other people.

  • But I'm happy to report that THERE IS A CURE! Well, first you could just wait for second;

  • it'll go away. But if you happen to have your brain frozen, just drink a little warm water,

  • or even faster, stick your tongue up against the roof of your mouth. As soon as it warms

  • up, you'll be ready to eat that second scoop.

  • Thanks for asking, and thanks to all of our Subbable subscribers who keep these answers

  • coming. They also get them a little earlier than the rest of you. If you have a quick

  • question, let us know on Facebook or Twitter or in the comments below, and don't forget

  • to go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe.

This business you've got going on up here... is a mess.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Click the word to look it up Click the word to find further inforamtion about it

B1 brain pain freeze blood nerve artery

What Causes Brain Freeze?

  • 345 16
    nil posted on 2014/12/09
Video vocabulary