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What Is the Longest Recorded Case of the Hiccups?

The longest recorded case of the hiccups was 68 years long. From 1922 to 1990, a US man named Charles Osborne continuously hiccupped from 20 to 40 times every minute. Osborne reportedly first experienced the record-breaking case of hiccups in 1922 when he fell down while attempting to weigh a 350 pound (158.76 kg) hog before butchering it. It is thought that Osborne may have damaged the area of his brain stem that is responsible for controlling the spasms of the diaphragm that cause hiccups. One year before his death at age 97, Osborne’s hiccups suddenly stopped, but his doctors could not come up with a conclusive medical explanation.

More about hiccups:

  • Hiccups are thought to be an evolutionary mechanism that stems from the first air-breathing amphibians and fish, which developed the involuntary ability to open and close off the entry to the lungs to prevent water from reaching them.

  • Most hiccup remedies, such as holding one’s breathe or getting scared, may be effective for the same underlying reason: it disrupts breathing patterns and may prevent the brain from communicating to the diaphragm.

  • Men are more likely than women to suffer long-term bouts of hiccups, although it is not known why.

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