Monday, April 02, 2007

Cure for Hiccups: A Thumb in the Rear?

I could be the victim of an April fools joke, but I heard on The Science Show podcast (an Australian Broadcasting Company program I listen to regularly) that "digital rectal stimulation" may cure hiccups.

Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. "Digital" meaning finger(s) and "rectal" meaning… well, you get the rest.

This bizarre revelation came when Mark Abrahams, editor of "
The Journal of Improbable Research" and creator of the "Ig Nobel Prize," was a guest on this week's show. I'm not sure why, there wasn't much of a lead-in to the discussion, but Abrahams went into detail on the work of Tennessee doctor Francis Fesmire who somehow discovered digital rectal stimulation could stop hiccups.

How? "Nothing else seemed to work," of course. And since Dr. Fesmire knew of a peculiar "tangle of nerves" near the rectum that was "connected to all sorts of stuff," he tried stimulating it and the rest is history.

Of course, this amazing discovery won a recent Ig Noble Prize.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.