At some point or another we have all tried to kill that sudden attack of hiccups with remedies that range from eating a spoonful of sugar (yum!) to drinking upside down from a glass (awkward!) to even, placing a brown bag over our heads (desperate!). 13-year old Mallory Kievman tried all that and when nothing worked, decided to create something that did.
Mallory's quest began two years ago, when the then 11-year old was struck with a stubborn bout of hiccups. Realizing that no single remedy worked quite perfectly, she decide to see if she could mix a couple and invent a sure-proof way of curing the rather irritating affliction.
She started by researching and testing mixtures of over a 100 remedies that have been suggested by various people from all over the world. Two years and a lot of kitchen messes later, the 13-year old was able narrow it down to two ingredients - Apple Cider Vinegar and sugar and one action - That of sucking on a lollipop that seemed to work the best. Using her research she created Hiccupops - A sweet confection that combines all three and purportedly soothes pesky hiccups immediately.
The Manchester, Connecticut resident believes her lollipop works because it triggers the nerves in the throat and mouth that are responsible for the hiccup reflex arc, resulting in over-stimulating them and canceling out the message to hiccup.
The young inventor then decided to present her creation at the 2011 Connecticut Invention Convention, a competition for young inventors. Sure enough, she caught the eye of the judges, who awarded her the top prize for innovation and patentability and more importantly, was taken under the wing by serial entrepreneur Danny Brier who nurtures small companies and helps bring their products to market.
If that wasn't enough, this summer the young CEO of Hiccupops will be joined by a group of graduate students from The University of Connecticut's Innovation Accelerator program. Their job will be to help Mallory find a manufacturer that will help bring her lollipops to market and within the reach of the billions of people who suffer from this annoying affliction, annually.
The young girl who aspires to be a doctor is hoping to sell her product in school nurse offices and drugstores, as well as, cancer hospitals since hiccups are a common side effect of chemotherapy.
Despite this much success, the young girl is not resting on her laurels. She is currently trying to tweak the recipe to improve the taste of the lollipops so that they appeal, to even the youngest sufferer.
So do these Hiccupops work? While no clinical trials have been done, given that the ingredients and the act of sucking on a lollipop seem to work individually, we can only speculate that together, they are a formidable force!
The cause of hiccups can be blamed on the diaphragm, the dome-shaped muscle that lies at the bottom of the chest. This important muscle is the reason you can breath properly. When you inhale it helps pull air into the lungs, when you exhale the diaphragm relaxes, helping the air flow out from the lungs and out through the nose and mouth. While most of the time it works seamlessly sometimes, it gets irritated and pulls down suddenly, causing a bunch of air to get sucked into the throat. When the gust of air hits the voice box, you will start 'hic. . . cupping'! While most attacks last just a few minutes, some continue on for days and even months - That however, is unusual and usually an indication of something other than an irritated diaphragm.
Resources: stuff.co.nz, mashable.com, odditycentral.com