1. The medical term for the hiccups is singultus.
2. A hiccup is a two-step process.
3. Hiccups are known to occur in almost all mammals.
4. Infants hiccup more than other humans.
5. Ultrasounds have shown that even fetuses have hiccups.
6. Nobody knows for sure why hiccups exist in the first place.
7. Some think it may be a holdover from our deep evolutionary past.
There are two separate hypotheses here. The first is about the initial muscle spasm that starts the hiccup. The idea is that because the nerves have such a great distance to go from the brain stem to the diaphragm, sometimes their paths get crossed and accidentally cause a spasm. Scientists argue that this is left over from the fact that deeper in our evolutionary history these muscles were meant to control our fishy ancestor's gills, which were much closer to the brain stem.
8. Another idea suggests that the hiccup is actually a way to prepare the fetus for breathing once it is born by exercising its muscles.
9. And there are others that think that hiccups help babies to self-burp.
10. The longest bout of hiccups lasted from 1922 until February 1990.
11. Many effective home remedies result in more CO2 in the bloodstream.
12. Despite their mysteries, we do have a sense of what can lead to hiccups.
13. Here's one ~SCARY~ video that might cure you of some hiccups:
Next time you get the hiccups, take a moment to contemplate what a beautiful scientific mystery it is — just like this dog presumably does multiple times a day:
Science Writer, Fossil Beastmaster
Contact Alex Kasprak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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