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Teen invents lollipop to cure hiccups

Tuesday - 5/8/2012, 6:09pm  ET

hiccupop.jpg
Mallory Kievman, inventor of the Hiccupop. (Courtesy Andrew Sullivan for The New York Times)

Paula Wolfson, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A 13-year old girl says she has come up with a cure for hiccups.

Mallory Kievman, of Manchester, Conn., is the inventor of the "Hiccupop" - a lollipop laced with apple cider vinegar and extra sugar. She developed the product in her family kitchen, and now she is working with a team of MBA's to bring it to market.

"It's a terrific story," says Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a gastroenterologist with Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. "I think she tried over a hundred different remedies and researched this for two years ... that is some really terrific research and development."

And Chutkan says Kievman may be on to something, by combining elements of several home remedies in a lollipop.

"Lots of home remedies use something that is either very sweet or very tart. So she used both. She used the tartness of the apple cider vinegar and the sweetness of sugar. So I think it is a really ingenious concept," says Chutkan.

Hiccups are a chain reaction that begins with an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm. Most bouts are annoying and only last for a few minutes. But some can last days, weeks or even months.

"Certainly for people out there who have either persistent or intractable hiccups really going on for long periods of time, this may actually make a significant difference," Chutkan says.

The "Hiccupop" falls into a category of products known as "nutraceuticals," a cross between nutrition and pharmaceuticals. Basically, it is a food item that produces health benefits, and most often combines ingredients in an unusual way, such as the combination of apple cider vinegar and extra sugar in a lollipop.

Chutkan notes the market for "nutraceuticals" is growing in large part because these products have few, if any, side effects.

"In an era where we are seeing tons and tons of traditional pharmaceuticals being recalled, and safety concerns and so on, one prefers to have a product that doesn't include those safety concerns," she says.

And she sees one other marketing plus for the "Hiccupop." It's a fun product that most likely will be sold in grocery and health food stores. "Lollipops are fun," she says, "just like cupcakes."

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