Hiccups play crucial developmental role for babies: scientists

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 Advertisement  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  Researchers found that fetuses begin hiccuping as early as nine weeks into pregnancy and babies born at least three weeks pre-term spend about 15 minutes a day hiccuping  The scientists noted however that there is seemingly no advantage to hiccuping in adults and that it could be “a hangover from early periods of our life that persists into later life ”

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