The Electric Hiccup Cure

If you’ve ever been (or known) a chronic hiccuper, you have peeked into the depths of hiccup cures. One friend of mine swore by a regimen that included a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and a teaspoon of lemon juice, taken in increasing order of the hiccups’ severity and stubbornness. Folk remedies like that abound. Personally, I put my hands on my head and lean back, taking as deep a breath as I can to stretch out the old diaphragm.

This guy, on the other hand, thought shocking your face was the answer.

USP 7,062,320, FIG. 6

A conductive rod (8) gently caresses the user’s face while they drink from the cup. As the user drinks, they make electrical contact with the fluid within, which completes an electrical circuit. In the inventor’s own words, “The object of the present invention is to galvanically stimulate the superficially coursing vagus and phrenic nerves in order to reliably interrupt the Hiccup Reflexive Arc.” USP 7,062,320, col. 2, lns 16-19.

Interestingly, the cup doesn’t have a power source. The voltage is generated by the use of two different metals, just like middle school when you used a potato to power a lightbulb. Except in this case, you’re the lightbulb!

Some quick googling suggests that the vagus and phrenic nerves actually are involved in the hiccup reflex, so maybe this would work? But this method of generating a voltage will quickly cause galvanic corrosion of the device, which will look pretty nasty, so you probably won’t want to drink from it before long.

USP 7,062,320, FIG. 5
Just be glad you’re the lightbulb
and not the potato…

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