He had uncontrollable fits of laughter. That turned out to be a key symptom.

He had uncontrollable fits of laughter. That turned out to be a key symptom.
UH residents helped solve a bizarre medical case in which the patient suffered from bouts of uncontrollable laughter. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Uncontrollable and extended bouts of laughter as a symptom sound, well, a little funny. But to a Hawaii man who’d struggled with it for years, it was anything but.

The curious medical case was presented to residents studying at the UH-Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine, who wrote about the patient in the Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Social Welfare.

They said they determined that the laughter was actually a gelastic seizure, a rare form of epilepsy.

“They are highly associated with abnormal cognitive development and behavioral problems in patients,” the physician trainees wrote.

The man started suffering from the laughing fits when he was 8, and they’d occur two to three times a week. The patient also had a history of a brain tumor, diabetes and schizophrenia.

With medication, the laughing fits ― which some assumed were a behavioral issue ― were brought under control.

Nina Leialoha Beckwith, a family medicine resident at JABSOM who worked on the case with fellow trainees under the supervision of Dr. Kore Kai Liow, called the case “medically intriguing.” “Prior to this case, I didn’t know seizures could manifest in such a way as uncontrollable laughter.” she said.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.