Don’t knock hiccups – they taught you how to breathe
Scientists say they trigger electrical activity in the brain that could help babies learn to regulate their breathing
Hiccuping is crucial to the development of babies’ brains, a study has found, prompting scientists to suggest that adults are prone to the reflex because it is an “important function” left over from infancy.
Neuroscientists at University College London found that hiccups – caused by sudden contractions of the diaphragm muscle – trigger electrical activity in the brain that could help babies learn to regulate their breathing.
The contractions teach the baby’s brain to monitor its ventilation muscles so that breathing can eventually be controlled voluntarily by moving the diaphragm up and down, the research suggests...