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Nerve stimulator may help chronic hiccup sufferers

Evan Blass

While only a minor annoyance to most, hiccups are a way of life for a very small segment of the population who have a chronic condition which gives them only minutes of relief at a time between bouts. Since chronic hiccuping is such a rare and non-life threatening condition, it receives little attention from mainstream researchers, giving sufferers little hope for a cure in their lifetimes. Recent experimental procedures using an implanted vagal stimulator, however, have shown some promise in alleviating patient discomfort after tweaking the amount of current delivered to the vagus nerve in the chest. Previously, vagal stimulators have been used to treat epileptics and some forms of depression, and their use in preventing hiccups was only discovered as a stroke of luck. Since no long-term studies have been done, any effectiveness is purely anecdotal, so it seems that the old method of startling a hiccupper is still the only tried-and-true solution.

[Via Medgadget]

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