Naked Scientist explains what causes those annoying hiccoughs

Hiccoughs are sudden, involuntary contractions of the diaphragm muscle.

Naked Scientist, Dr Chris Smith, explains that a hiccoughs is associated with excitement, certain drugs,and brain injury.

We don't know exactly why it happens, but what we can say is that you have this phrenic nerve, which is the nerve that supplies your diaphragm and makes you breath, and comes out of your brain stem and is controlled by the respiratory system in your brain stems.

Dr Chris Smith, Naked Scientist

You have these collections of nerve cells that send signals down your phrenic nerve and tells you to breath, for some reason and in response to various stimuli it then can get to the pattern where it sends bursts of activity down your phrenic nerve. and makes you have a sudden involuntary breath.

Dr Chris Smith, Naked Scientist

Listen to the audio below to hear more answers from Dr Chris Smith as listeners pose their science questions...


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