Previously published in Examiner
This is the conclusion of the Laughter can Kill you article
Is there such a think as laughing too much?
Pathological laughing is a medical condition caused by neurological disorders. Pathological laughing would mean uncontrollable bouts of laughing (Gelastic syncope), where the individual just does not seem to be able to stop.
Some documented cases have shown through MRI’s how these patients have lesions in the brain ranging anywhere from the cerebral cortex in the brain all the way down the brain stem. The lesions impair or “disinhibits” the laughing or crying mechanism from actually turning off after a normal laughing or crying session.
Infarction (lack of sufficient blood supply) of the Pons and obdulla oblongata (two areas found in the brainstem) is also associated with incontrolable laughing and crying.
Note the topic of “impaired affect” regarding such psychiatric disorders, as schizophrenia is not being covered in this article. However any physiological reason for pathological laughing in mental illness or other neurological disorders such as possibly Tourette Syndrome would be included.
What can cause death by excessive or extended laughing?
Impairment of the swallowing mechanism:
“If the mechanism of swallowing is disturbed by excessive laugher, talking, swallowing, food, especially the liquid portion, is liable to enter the larynx or nose and cause coughing, sneezing and sometimes serious results…” Yes if not treated, death can occur because the oxygen supply is cut off from the heart and lungs.
Asphyxiation – Lack of oxygen to the lungs
Heart Attack – Caused by insufficient oxygen to the heart
Brain Injury – Again the first cause is due to the airways becoming obstructed. You cannot laugh and breathe at the same time. When you are laughing you are expelling carbon dioxide.
Atonia – This happens when a muscles loses its strength. In this case we refer back to the cerebral cortex and brain centers for laughing and crying where the muscle in these centers have lost their ability to turn on and off at appropriate intervals.
Note: After writing this article, this Montreal examiner doesn’t know if she wants to laugh or cry. Either way it certainly makes you think doesn’t it?
Montreal Laughter Coach, if you still want to have fun and laugh after reading this article visit:
ANNETTE GOODHEART, Ph.D., M.F.T teaches laughter training, which is good therapy and lightens your psyche. In this world we all need to laugh more.