I think hiccup cures were really invented for the amusement of the patient's friends ― Bill Watterson


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Has science solved the mystery of the hiccup? Don't hold your breath

Far from being a problem that's easily solved by standing on your head, the ailment's cause and cure remain elusive. It happens in the blink of an eye: your breathing muscles contract, your vocal cords clamp shut and out comes that unmistakable sound: "hic".

We all get hiccups from time to time. So do cats, rats and human foetuses. Perhaps you ate too quickly, got too excited or drank something carbonated. Or you are coming out of anaesthesia after an operation. But often there's no clear trigger. Doctors don't know what purpose they serve, nor do they know how to make them go away.

In other words, the humble hiccup remains largely a mystery. And just as theories abound…

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Last Updated : Thursday, June 13, 2019