There appears to finally be a cure for hiccups — and yes, there is a purchase required.
In an interview with The Atlantic, University of Texas at San Antonio professor and hiccup expert Ali Seifi sings the praises of his patented device, the HiccAway.
While humanity has long been plagued by these phantom spasms, medical science still struggles to explain their cause. We do know, however, what happens to the body when hiccups occur — and it's treating those symptoms that Seifi is after.
The gist goes like this: our diaphragms spasm, which causes both a rapid inhalation of air and a sudden closing of the glottis, which is the medical term for the space between vocal cords — that "hic" sound that accompanies hiccups comes from the glottis, The Atlantic notes — and then the lengthy vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the chest and diaphragm, makes the spasms repeat.
Seifi's device, which is admittedly a fancy straw that he says provides the exact right amount of pressure to stop hiccups, was created after the neurointensivist (say that five times fast and it may just cure your hiccups) studied existing remedies to see which ones worked best.
"All of the current home remedies have science behind them," the good doctor told The Atlantic. "All of them are valid!"
The $14 HiccAway straw, which has a small hole at the bottom and a larger one at the top, builds on those home remedies by using a physics trick known as Bernoulli's Principle, The Atlantic notes, but in reverse.
"Imagine you have a water hose and you open the faucet," Seifi told the magazine. "If you put half your thumb in front of the hose, the flow stays the same, but by changing the diameter the speed of the fluid changes; it ejects more."
As the patent application for the HiccAway notes, the exact science at play with the magic straw requires a lot of physics and diaphragm pressure language best left to the experts.
"The creator of HiccAway has already figured out all of the details, you just have to use this groundbreaking hiccup treatment to understand that it doesn’t matter how it works," the patent application reads, "just that it works."
The product has already picked up some high-profile boosters. Last year, Seifi appeared on "Shark Tank" and convinced Mark Cuban to pony up an investment of $250,000.
Until someone sends us a HiccAway straw to test for ourselves, we'll have to take their word for it — but as with anyone else who's ever suffered a maddening bout of hiccups, we'll try anything.
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