Weird gadget may cure hiccups, early study suggests

A simple device could be the solution to a deeply annoying problem that’s plagued humanity for millennia: the hiccups.

When a bout of hiccups strikes, the brain stem shoots signals to the diaphragm that cause the muscle to contract and pull a gulp of air into the lungs; then the epiglottis, a flap of tissue behind the tongue, flips over to cover the windpipe and triggers the characteristic “hic” sound that give hiccups their name, Live Science previously reported. The involuntary reflex may serve some purpose in fetuses and newborns, in that hiccups may help train the brain regions and muscles involved in breath control. But as the “hics” serve no apparent purpose in older humans, at some point, they’re mostly just a nuisance.