Harvard Medical School scientists who say they have a better idea of what causes brain freeze, believe that their study could eventually pave the way to more effective treatments for various types of headaches, such as migraine-related ones, or pain caused by brain injuries. Brain freeze, also known as an ice-cream headache, cold-stimulus headache, or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, is a kind of short-term headache typically linked to the rapid consumption of ice-cream, ice pops, or very cold drinks. Brain freeze occurs when something extremely cold touches the upper-palate (roof of the mouth). It normally happens when the weather is very hot, and the individual consumes something too fast. Dr. Jorge Serrador, a cardiovascular electronics researcher, who presented the team's finding at the Experimental Biology 2012 meeting, San Diego, explained that until now, scientists have not been able to fully understand what causes brain freeze.
'Brain freeze' is a nearly universal experience - almost everyone has felt the near-instantaneous headache brought on by a bite of ice cream or slurp of ice-cold soda on the upper palate. However, scientists are still at a loss to explain this phenomenon. Since migraine sufferers are more likely to experience brain freeze than people who don't have this often-debilitating condition, brain freeze may share a common mechanism with other types of headaches, including those brought on by the trauma of blast-related combat injuries in soldiers. One possible link between brain freeze and other headache types is local changes in brain blood flow. In a new study, Melissa Mary Blatt, Michael Falvo, and Jessica Jasien of the Department of Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System, Brian Deegan and Gearold O Laighin of the National University of Ireland Galway, and Jorge Serrador of Harvard Medical School and the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center of the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System use brain freeze as a proxy for other types of headaches.
Although several preventive migraine treatments are very effective for many patients, few sufferers use them, according to new American Academy of Neurology guidelines. The guidelines have been published in the journal Neurology and will be presented tomorrow at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual meeting in New Orleans. Author Stephen D. Silberstein, MD, FACP, FAHS, of Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, said: "Studies show that migraine is underrecognized and undertreated. About 38 percent of people who suffer from migraine could benefit from preventive treatments, but only less than a third of these people currently use them." Preventive treatments are generally administered daily to prevent migraine attacks from ever occurring, or to lessen their severity and length of duration if they do.
Research released today and scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, April 21 to April 28, shows that women who have a tendency for migraines or have had them in the past, have a greater risk for developing depression. The study gathered data on more than 36, 000 women, who were all classified as not having depression. They were enrolled in the Women's Health Study and gave information about their history of migraines. The women were categorized as either having : Active migraine with aura Active migraine without aura Past history of migraine (but not within the last year) No history of migraine. The women also gave information about diagnoses of depression. From 36, 154, a total of 6, 456 had current or past problems with migraines, and during the following 14 years of the study, more than half of them developed depression.
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have published findings that question the reliability of a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quality measure. The study, "Assessment of Medicare's Imaging Efficiency Measure for Emergency Department Patients With Atraumatic Headache" finds that the CMS measure - an attempt to reduce computed tomography (CT) scans in emergency departments (ED) - does not accurately determine which hospitals are performing CT scans inappropriately. The study is electronically published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. With the recent surge of CT use in EDs, comes concern about radiation exposure and cost. CMS developed measure OP-15, "Use of Brain Computed Tomography in the Emergency Department for Atraumatic Headache, " to evaluate the use of brain CT in the ED for atraumatic headache in order to improve imaging efficiency.