Cryptogenic gelastic epilepsy of frontal lobe origin: a paediatric case report.
Gelastic (laughing) seizures are an uncommon seizure type which in most cases has an organic cerebral pathology and specifically a hypothalamic hamartoma. The interictal EEG frequently shows focal activity. This report describes a 3 1/2-year-old boy who presented with episodes of unmotivated laughter associated with other epileptic symptomatology before the age of 3 years. Prolonged ambulatory EEG monitoring recorded electroclinical seizures starting in the right frontal area and spreading to the adjacent frontotemporal region. Neurological examination and brain magnetic resonance imaging were normal. Vigabatrin resulted in immediate remission of the seizures and normalization of the EEG. (+info
Pathological laughter as heralding manifestation of left middle cerebral artery territory infarct: case report and review of literature.
Clinical, radiological and pathological studies in patients with stroke, presenting with pathological laughter as heralding manifestation, have shown lesions in the internal capsule and thalamus, basal ganglion, hypothalamus and ventral pons. In this report a patient with similar manifestation and having a cortical infarct in the territory supplied by superior division of middle cerebral artery is being presented. Our case suggests possible influence of dominant cerebral hemisphere, especially of Broca's area, on the motor control of laughter. (+info
Ictal laughter: a case report with clinical, cinefilm, and EEG observations.
Seizures with laughter, verbalization, and repetitive abduction-adduction movements of the upper limbs are described in a 13 year old male of normal intelligence. Cinefilm and EEG records illustrate some of the points made in the text. (+info
Respiratory dynamics during laughter.
Lung and chest wall mechanics were studied during fits of laughter in 11 normal subjects. Laughing was naturally induced by showing clips of the funniest scenes from a movie by Roberto Benigni. Chest wall volume was measured by using a three-dimensional optoelectronic plethysmography and was partitioned into upper thorax, lower thorax, and abdominal compartments. Esophageal (Pes) and gastric (Pga) pressures were measured in seven subjects. All fits of laughter were characterized by a sudden occurrence of repetitive expiratory efforts at an average frequency of 4.6 +/- 1.1 Hz, which led to a final drop in functional residual capacity (FRC) by 1.55 +/- 0.40 liter (P < 0.001). All compartments similarly contributed to the decrease of lung volumes. The average duration of the fits of laughter was 3.7 +/- 2.2 s. Most of the events were associated with sudden increase in Pes well beyond the critical pressure necessary to generate maximum expiratory flow at a given lung volume. Pga increased more than Pes at the end of the expiratory efforts by an average of 27 +/- 7 cmH2O. Transdiaphragmatic pressure (Pdi) at FRC and at 10% and 20% control forced vital capacity below FRC was significantly higher than Pdi at the same absolute lung volumes during a relaxed maneuver at rest (P < 0.001). We conclude that fits of laughter consistently lead to sudden and substantial decrease in lung volume in all respiratory compartments and remarkable dynamic compression of the airways. Further mechanical stress would have applied to all the organs located in the thoracic cavity if the diaphragm had not actively prevented part of the increase in abdominal pressure from being transmitted to the chest wall cavity. (+info
Trigeminal schwannoma associated with pathological laughter and crying.
A 46 year old man with trigeminal schwannoma displayed symptoms of ataxia with pathological laughter and crying. The tumour developed in the cerebellopontine angle, compressing the pontomesencephalic structures backward, extending in the posterior parasellar region and Meckel's cave. No recurrence of laughter and crying attacks were noted after total removal of the tumour. Theories of mechanism of pathological laughter and crying reported in the literature are reviewed. (+info
Pathological laughter and crying: a link to the cerebellum.
Patients with pathological laughter and crying (PLC) are subject to relatively uncontrollable episodes of laughter, crying or both. The episodes occur either without an apparent triggering stimulus or following a stimulus that would not have led the subject to laugh or cry prior to the onset of the condition. PLC is a disorder of emotional expression rather than a primary disturbance of feelings, and is thus distinct from mood disorders in which laughter and crying are associated with feelings of happiness or sadness. The traditional and currently accepted view is that PLC is due to the damage of pathways that arise in the motor areas of the cerebral cortex and descend to the brainstem to inhibit a putative centre for laughter and crying. In that view, the lesions 'disinhibit' or 'release' the laughter and crying centre. The neuroanatomical findings in a recently studied patient with PLC, along with new knowledge on the neurobiology of emotion and feeling, gave us an opportunity to revisit the traditional view and propose an alternative. Here we suggest that the critical PLC lesions occur in the cerebro-ponto-cerebellar pathways and that, as a consequence, the cerebellar structures that automatically adjust the execution of laughter or crying to the cognitive and situational context of a potential stimulus, operate on the basis of incomplete information about that context, resulting in inadequate and even chaotic behaviour. (+info
Sharing laughter: the humour of pre-school children with Down syndrome.
Humour and laughter have often been portrayed as fundamentally cultural and social phenomena. They can be used to tell us about children's ability to engage socially and to understand others, but have rarely been explored for this purpose. The present paper summarises the results of a study of simple forms of humour in children with Down syndrome and with autism, two groups which are reported to differ in their sociality and interpersonal understanding. Sixteen children with Down syndrome and 19 children with autism, matched on non-verbal mental age, participated in a cross-sectional study. Parental reports and video-tapes of naturalistic interaction between parents and children were analysed to show that although there were no overall differences in the presence or frequency of child or parent laughter between the two groups, there were differences in what sorts of events were more likely to prompt child laughter, the extent to which child laughter was shared, and how the children responded to others' laughter. The children with Down syndrome were more likely than the children with autism to laugh at funny faces and socially inappropriate acts and less likely to laugh in strange or inexplicable situations, and more likely to laugh at shared events. They also responded to others' laughter with attention or smiles more, and tried to re-elicit it through acts of clowning. Children with Down syndrome are thus active participants in humour and laughter, sharing it at both an emotional and a cultural level. (+info
"Fou rire prodromique" as the presentation of pontine ischaemia secondary to vertebrobasilar stenosis.
"Fou rire prodromique" (prodrome of crazy laughter) is a rare form of pathological laughter of uncertain pathophysiology. A patient is presented with pathological laughter as the first manifestation of pontine ischaemia due to vertebrobasilar stenosis. A 65 year old man developed uncontrollable and unemotional laughter for almost an hour followed by transient right facial-brachial paresis. He had fluctuation of laughter, right facial brachial paresis, and occasional crying. Magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA), and an angiogram showed small left pontine and cerebellar infarcts, left vertebral artery occlusion, and right vertebral and basilar artery stenosis. His condition deteriorated to bilateral brain stem infarction and he died. Necropsy confirmed the extensive brain stem infarction. Pathological laughter can be the very first presenting manifestation of ischaemia of the ventrotegmental junction of the upper pons. It is hypothesised that the pathological laughter in this patient was secondary to ischaemic ephaptic stimulation of the descending corticopontine/ bulbar pathways. (+info