A Newry woman died late yesterday afternoon from what local doctors are calling a fatal brain freeze.
The incident happened at the Timoney’s Ice Cream Shop on Canal Street. Grainne O’Hallion, 24, stopped in for a Large 99 with Sprinkles.
“She comes in regularly, this time she asked for her usual Large 99 with Sprinkles, she took a couple of licks on it, then started holding her head,” a store employee tells us. “She said she was getting an ice cream headache, but just kept eating away. I even told her she should probably go handy with it but the next thing I know she was on the ground with ice cream all over her face.”
An ambulance was called immediately, but O’Hallion was pronounced dead at the scene. The local pathologist listed the cause of death as sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, or brain freeze.
Brain freeze happens when nerves in the roof of the mouth sends signals to the brain that it is becoming too cold. As a result the brain attempts to warm itself by constricting blood flow through vessels in the brain.
“Typically brain freezes last only 30-45 seconds, the brain realizes the mistake and begins allowing blood flow back through,” Dr. John Day, a Daisy Hill neurosurgeon, tells us. “It appears in this case, because she kept eating the ice cream the brain never corrected the mistake and her brain overheated. This should be a lesson to stop eating the moment an ice cream headache begins.”
This is the third ice cream related death for the Timoney’s Ice Cream shop. The previous deaths took place last August at a tasting party where they introduced their Large Waffle Cone. Two individuals fighting over the final sampling simultaneously stabbed each other in the eye resulting in instant death. Timoney’s renamed the cone “Death Cone” in their memory.