Headaches

Smoking may worsen a hangover US research concludes

Smoking may worsen a hangover after drinking heavily US research concludes-  although the reason why is unclear.Smoking may worsen a hangover US research concludesResearchers asked 113 US students to keep a diary for eight weeks, recording their drinking and smoking habits and any hangover symptoms.

When they drank heavily- around six cans of beer an hour – those who also smoked suffered a worse hangover.

Addiction charities hope this study may motivate smokers to cut down over the festive season.

The study’s findings are reported in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

One of the paper’s authors, Dr Damaris Rohsenow, from the Centre for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University said: “At the same number of drinks, people who smoke more that day are more likely to have a hangover and have more intense hangovers.”

“And smoking itself was linked to an increased risk of hangover compared with not smoking at all.  That raises the likelihood that there is some direct effect of tobacco smoking on hangovers.”

The students from a Midwestern university in the US reported on the number of drinks consumed, number of cigarettes smoked and their hangover symptoms – which included if they felt more tired than usual, had a headache, felt nauseated and had difficulty concentrating.

The researchers then estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) which helped control for differences between sexes as it took into account weight and the period over which the student drank alcohol.

After analysing the results, the researchers found that smoking more heavily the day before increased the presence and severity of hangover the next day – but only after a heavy drinking episode, estimated at a BAC of 110mg/dl or greater – the equivalent of around six cans of beer an hour.

The reasons why are unclear- but the study suggests it may down to the toxicological and pharmacological effects of nicotine on the nervous system.

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Why eating ice cream gives you brain freeze headaches

Scientists have explained why eating ice cream too quickly can cause a painful headache – commonly known as brain freeze.Why eating ice cream gives you brain freeze headachesThe ice cream headache known as brain freeze is brought on by a rapid increase in blood flow through a major blood vessel in the brain, the anterior cerebral artery.

They hope to use the discovery to develop new treatments for migraine.

Scientists have noticed that migraine sufferers are more prone to ‘brain freeze’ and wondered if the phenomenon could be turned to their advantage.

In experiments carried by a researchers at the National University of Ireland in Galway and Harvard Medical School a team of 13 healthy volunteers deliberately induced the brain freeze so the effects could be studied.

By bringing on brain freeze in the laboratory the researchers were able to study a headache from beginning to end without the need for drugs that would mask the causes and symptoms of the pain.

The volunteers drank iced water through a straw that was pressed against their palate and then drank water at room temperature.

Blood flow was monitored using a hand held Doppler.

It was found that the anterior cerebral artery dilated rapidly and flooded the brain with blood in conjunction to when the volunteers felt pain. Soon after this dilation occurred, the same vessel constricted as the volunteers’ pain receded.

Co-author Jorge Serrador of Harvard Medical School and the War Related Illness and Injury Study Centre of the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System, said: “The brain is one of the relatively important organs in the body, and it needs to be working all the time. “It’s fairly sensitive to temperature, so vasodilatation might be moving warm blood inside tissue to make sure the brain stays warm.”

The findings were presented at the meeting Experimental Biology 2012 being in San Diego.

But because the skull is a closed structure, the sudden influx of blood could raise pressure and induce pain, he said.

By constricting the blood vessel again the body could be acting to reduce the pressure before it reaches dangerous levels, he said.

Similar alterations in blood flow could be at work in migraines, post traumatic headaches, and other headache types, he added.

If further research confirms these suspicions, then finding ways to control blood flow could offer new treatments for these conditions.

Drugs that block sudden vasodilatation or target channels involved specifically in the vasodilatation of headaches could be one way of changing headaches’ course

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Why-eating-ice-cream-gives-you-brain-freeze

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