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NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Involuntary spasms of the diaphragm
Name: Abigail
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Dear Newton,
What causes involuntary contractions or spasms of the diaphragm?

One of the most common asked question about the diaphragm concerns the phenomenon of "hiccups" of which I think you are referring. Simply, hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm probably the result of eating a large meal or it has been suspected to be a result of alcohol consumption. Some sources claim that the abrupt closure of the voice box checking the inflow of air will cause the onset of "hiccups" as well. Spasms may also be the result of irritations of the nerves that control the normally smooth and rhythmic contractions of this muscle.
Steven D Sample

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