Monday, November 29, 2010

Hiccups: A Consequence of Having Evolved

hiccupsThe first air-breathing fish and amphibians extracted oxygen using gills when in the water and primitive lungs when on land—and to do so, they had to be able to close the glottis, or entryway to the lungs, when underwater. Importantly, the entryway (or glottis) to the lungs could be closed. When underwater, the animals pushed water past their gills while simultaneously pushing the glottis down. We descendants of these animals were left with vestiges of their history, including the hiccup. In hiccupping, we use ancient muscles to quickly close the glottis while sucking in (albeit air, not water). Hiccups no longer serve a function, but they persist without causing us harm—aside from frustration and occasional embarrassment. One of the reasons it is so difficult to stop hiccupping is that the entire process is controlled by a part of our brain that evolved long before consciousness, and so try as you might, you cannot think hiccups away. ...

via The Top Ten Daily Consequences of Having Evolved | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine.

Christians never get the hiccups. They didn't evolve from air-breathing fish like the rest of us.  ;-)


Cheng said...

Hiccups are just God's way of reminding you to confess your sins..... like the sin of evolution :)

Mirlen101 said...

Actually you can think hiccups away .I came up with a self hypnosis method years ago to stop hiccups.I've tried it on myself several times and on others who had tried several other traditional ways to stop the hiccups.The traditional ways normally fail . My method is to concentrate on the hiccups. Try to concentrate on the next hiccup . Try to make yourself hiccup. The opposite to what people would normally do . As you concentrate on making the next hiccup happen you relax, breath freely and deeply . You will usually hiccup a couple more times. You continue the process most people stop within 3 or 4 hiccups. What I think happens is the throat contracts when a person gets stressed about hiccuping. So they stress themselves further by trying to stop . By relaxing ,concentrating ,breathing freely and NOT trying to stop it the muscles relax and you stop hiccuping ;-)A form of self hypnosis.I tried it on a guy that tried all other methods first . He was so desperate he was getting ill from hiccuping . He stopped in 3 hiccups after doing my method . Oh ya you have to be still and continue the deep slow breathing and concentration after the hiccups stop!