Scientists from University College London have revealed why we hiccup and why this annoying habit is so important - especially for children.
The researchers found that hiccups are important for brain development in children , triggering electrical activity in the brain that helps children regulate breathing .
Hiccups are especially important for children.
Dr Kimberley Whitehead, lead author of the study, said: "The reasons why we hiccup are not entirely clear, but there may be a developmental reason that leads to frequent hiccups and hiccups. ".
Premature babies - babies born three weeks earlier than the due date - are especially prone to hiccups, who spend about 1% of their time - about 15 minutes a day for hiccups. Hiccups can also be observed in the womb - sometimes as early as nine weeks after pregnancy.
The study was published in Clinical Neurophysiology, based on brain scans from 13 premature and full-term infants from 30 to 42 weeks gestation.
Brain activity is recorded by electrodes attached to the scalp, while hiccup movements are monitored by sensors on the baby's torso.
The researchers noted, the diaphragmatic contractions from a hiccup corresponded to a pronounced response in the cerebral cortex in the form of three brain waves. They believe that the third brainwave could link the "hic" sound of hiccups to the feeling of muscle spasm in the diaphragm.
Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi, a senior researcher in the Department of Neurology, Physiology and Pharmacology of University College London, and co-author of the study, said: "Hiccups can help your baby's brain. learn to monitor the respiratory muscles so that the breath can be controlled by moving the diaphragm up and down. "
"When we were born, body sensory circuits were not fully developed, so establishing such networks is an important development milestone for babies," he said.
Although the cause of hiccups in adults is unknown, a number of factors, such as stress, excitement or eating, can trigger muscle contraction. Ms Whitehead said: "Our findings have made us wonder whether the hiccups in adults, which seem to be annoying, may in fact be due to vestibular remnants left over from childhood when it is have important functions ".