There's a scientific (and adorable) reason why babies hiccup, according to a new study
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.


RELATED: A mom left her baby at the airport, so the whole plane turned around to get her daughter

The babies, who ranged from 30 to 42 weeks gestational age, had electrodes placed on their scalps. Sensors were placed on their tummies to monitor their hiccups. Their hiccups trigged three brainwaves. The third brainwave helps them learn that there's a correlation to the hiccup sound and the sensation of a hiccup. "When we are born, the circuits which process body sensations are not fully developed, so the establishment of such networks is a crucial developmental milestone for newborns," Dr. Lorenzo Fabrizi, senior author of the study, said in a statement.

It's all part of the process of babies learning how their bodies work. Hiccupping helps babies learn how to control their breathing, so as adults they can do things like breathe deeply or hold their breath for long periods of time, like when something smells really bad on the subway.

"The muscle contraction of a hiccup is quite big -- it's good for the developing brain because it suddenly gives a big boost of input, which helps the brain cells to all link together for representing that particular body part," Kimberly Whitehead, the study's lead author, told CNN.

RELATED: Sweden's parental leave laws have revolutionized the lives of moms

"I know from personal experience that my wife used to really worry when our baby daughter hiccupped," Fabrizi told the Daily Mail. "As an adult, we worry that it is annoying and unnecessary for them, but these findings suggest there may be a purpose."

Babies start hiccupping when they're in the womb, even as early as nine weeks into pregnancy. Babies can spend 15 minutes each day hiccupping, which is a pretty busy schedule for a newborn.

The researchers also couldn't find a reason for hiccupping as an adult. Whitehead says it could be "a hangover from early periods of our life that persists into later life." In other words, hiccups are great for babies and just annoying for us.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

Keep Reading Show less