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The Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Laughing

13 June 2014 ecancer

A six-year-old Bolivian girl presented with an unusual medical symptom: uncontrollable and inappropriate fits of laughter. “She was considered spoiled, crazy, even devil-possessed,” says Dr José Liders Burgos Zuleta.  Doctors diagnosed the child with “misbehaviour.”

In a new research paper published in ecancermedicalscience, Dr Liders Burgos successfully diagnosed the true cause of the little girl’s gelastic, or laughing, seizures. Unable to perform a biopsy, his team turned to imaging to examine the girl’s brain. They discovered a hamartoma – a small tumour pressing on the temporal lobe of her brain.

Dr Liders Burgos hopes that this will assist other Latin American doctors in diagnosing the true cause of behavioural issues in children. “This case is interesting because these Latin American children will be referred to a neurologist,” he says.

After surgery, the young girl is now healthy and developing normally. She has not suffered further seizures - and now only laughs for normal reasons.

Read the case report for free here:

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