TheBrainFreeze.com is a website dedicated to ‘ice cream headaches’, a condition sometimes known as ‘brain freeze’. It hosts a short yet strangely compelling movie of people causing headaches in themselves with slushed ice drinks.
A 1997 article in the British Medical Journal explained why cold things cause headaches, and describes some good old-fashioned self-experimentation in the service of science.
Experimenting on himself, Smith characterised the features of the headache. Applying crushed ice to the palate, he found that ipsilateral temporal and orbital pain developed 20-30 seconds later. Bilateral pain occurred when the stimulus was applied in the midline. The headache could be elicited only in hot weather; attempts to reproduce the pain during the winter were unsuccessful, even with use of a cold stimulus of the same temperature.
Luckily for ice creams fans, the article shys away from medical scaremongering, recommending that “ice cream abstinence is not indicated”.