We've all had them at some point or another: Hiccups. And sometimes they're not easy to get rid of.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm — the muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen and plays an important role in breathing. Each contraction is followed by a sudden closure of your vocal cords, which produces the characteristic "hic" sound."
They're not dangerous as long as they don't last for more than 48 hours but they sure are annoying. Cures including everything from having to hold your breath to getting someone to scare you. But they don't always work so well or instantaneously.
And when you have the hiccups you want an instantaneous cure! Now, scientists have conceived of a straw that takes your hiccups away with one gulp.
It's called “the forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool” (FISST) and is patented as HiccAway for $14. It's quite simple really. It's a plastic device in an L-shape that has a mouthpiece at one end and an adjustable cap with a pressure valve at the other. Those afflicted by hiccups place the device into a glass of water, take a sip and watch their hiccups disappear.
How does it work? It activates the two nerves responsible for the hiccups. The vigorous suction required to draw water up through the device activates the phrenic nerve to trigger a contraction of the diaphragm. Meanwhile, the swallow activates the vagus nerve. Keeping these two nerves busy negates them the chance to trigger a hiccup.
It's quite ingenious really and in a study published in the Jama Network it was found to work in 92% of cases. It should be noted however that the study did not have a control group and relied on self-reported results.
Still, it's a pretty nifty invention, one that may be useful to have around just in case. And for 14$ a piece it's also quite affordable.