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Loss Of Consciousness From Vigorous Laughter: A Case Series

Laughter is the best medicine, and now, here’s the best medicine to treat laughter. Fainting from laughter happens, albeit rarely, and is probably a vasovagal response, reports a case series in the medical literature.

Dubbed “Sitcom Syncope,” the series of three patients and a literature review of other cases evaluated patients who reported loss of consciousness during vigorous laughter. The series was reported by Prashan H. Thiagarajah, MD, an ACP Associate Member at the Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa., and colleagues in Postgraduate Medicine.

The three patients reported seven fainting spells induced by vigorous laughter that were witnessed friends or family.

All patients were hospitalized and underwent a complete history and physical, 12-lead echocardiogram, chest radiograph, routine blood analysis, transthoracic echocardiography, Holter monitoring, carotid duplex study, stress testing, polysomnography, and head-up tilt table testing. In each cases, structural heart disease and cerebrovascular disease were ruled out. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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