21 June 2021

The last straw for people with hiccups

RedHerring The Back Page

Sucking through a “Forced Inspiratory Suction and Swallow Tool” (a special straw) is the newest proposed cure for hiccups.

The technique, which we imagine looks something like this, was put forward in a research letter in JAMA Network Open this week.

There appears to be some evidence for its effectiveness (although keep in mind that the research paper was co-authored by the inventor of the hiccup-relieving apparatus). 

While The Back Page is yet to test this approach, it certainly beats being frightened on purpose by a friend in a Bigfoot costume (thanks, iStock – above) or using the self-waterboarding technique laid down in old wives tales. 

The device is basically a rigid drinking tube with an inlet valve that requires suction effort to draw water from a cup into the mouth. 

It’s designed to stimulate the phrenic and vagus nerves by inducing diaphragmatic contraction and epiglottis closure, thereby breaking the hiccup cycle.

The device was tested in around 250 people. Around 65% of these volunteers had hiccups at least once a month. 

Around 90% of people surveyed said the straw was better than home remedies for getting rid of hiccups. 

This makes sense because everyone knows home remedies are designed to make people with hiccups look as silly as possible.

Have you ever seen a small child try to drink water from the wrong side of the glass or try to hold their breath while hiccupping?

“[Home remedies for hiccups are] plagued by unclear instructions, inconsistent performance, and poor effectiveness,” the study authors lament. 

“There is a need for a simple and effective method to stop hiccups.”

Have you got your own hiccup removal invention? We want to hear about it! felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au.

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