How To: Die Laughing

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YOU WILL NEED
A Sense of Humor
Poor Health

Tip #1: Watch "Seinfeld"
It's not a common problem, to be sure, but there was one person who almost kicked it following repeated exposure to "man hands" and "the soup nazi." Back in 1997, a Massachusetts man started inexplicably passing out every time he watched the show. Naturally, after this happened a couple of times, the man became concerned enough to visit a doctor, which was how he ended up watching his next episode with a neurologist chaperone taking notes. Sure enough, one good joke was enough to knock the man out. But (sadly for the neurologist's professional ambitions) there wasn't some crazy new disorder at work. Instead, the man turned out to have cholesterol-plugged arteries, which when combined with the (relatively) heavy physical labor of laughing, cut off blood flow to his brain.
Tip #2: Go Crazy
What's Laughing Psychosis? Picture the Joker from Batman and you're on the right track. According to Final Exits by Michael Largo, laughing psychosis is a debilitating progressive neurological disorder triggered by an excess of amino acids in the brain. As these amino acids coagulate into a big mass they cause various synapses to start misfiring, leading victims to start laughing for no reason. As the disease progresses, they'll often wake up in the middle of the night caught in fits of laughter. More than mere chuckles, victims begin to see things that aren't there and experience a break with reality not unlike what happens to schizophrenics. Naturally, when you hallucinate like that, you're much more likely to do something that leads to your death. The group most affected by the disorder: Women ages 15 to 30, who have higher levels of estrogen that may help the amino acids to start getting out of control.

August 14, 2007 - 5:16am
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