They’re not designed just to be annoying after all! –
While a case of the hiccups can be unwelcome, annoying and sometimes seemingly impossible to stop, new research suggests the involuntary spasms may play a critical part in human development by helping babies regulate their breathing.
Researchers at University College London found hiccupping triggered a large wave of brain signals in 13 newborns they monitored.
Lorenzo Fabrizi, who co-authored the study, stated that hiccuping helps babies “to learn how to monitor the breathing muscles” which eventually leads to an ability to control breathing voluntarily.
“When we are born, the circuits which process body sensations are not fully developed, so the establishment of such networks is a crucial developmental milestone for newborns,” Fabrizi said.