• Question: Why do we have a brain freeze when we eat ice cream greedily?

    Asked by Sammy to Hayley, Jimi on 18 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Hayley Moulding

      Hayley Moulding answered on 18 Mar 2016:

      If we eat too much of a cold substance, it cools our sinuses and the blood vessels called capillaries. These are really really small blood vessels. So our ears, our mouth, around our nose are affected. It isn’t our brain that freezes, it is more that the capillaries are constricting and then getting bigger again and it is this rapid process which can cause the freeze because they are getting cold really quick! The top of our mouth too, (called the palate) has a nerve which is close to pain receptors. When the blood vessels dilate there is this ‘background’ pain sensation sent from the top of the mouth to the brain. Did you know the scientific name for ‘brain freeze’ is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia! That is a long name.

    • Photo: Jimi Wills

      Jimi Wills answered on 18 Mar 2016:

      That’s really interesting!

      I don’t think I can offer any more information than Hayley has.