Serious Brain Tumor Caused Girl's Uncontrollable Laughter

First Posted: Jun 17, 2014 12:03 PM EDT

It may be easy to brush off a child's misbehaving to the impatience and misunderstanding that comes with youth. However, for one little girl in particular, her uncontrollable laughter--deemed as inappropriate behavior--was due to a serious brain tumor not yet recognized.

"She was considered spoiled, crazy-even devil possessed," said Dr. Jose Liders Burgos Zuleta of the Advanced Medical Image Centre in Bolivia.

The 6-year-old girl would have fits of uncontrollable giggles that doctors and family originally blamed on "misbehavior." However, Dr. Burgos Zuleta said he believed that her furious laughter was due to something more serious.

A brain scan revealed that the cause of the girl's laughing fits--also medically referred to as gelastic seizures--were because of a brain tumor pressing against her temporal lobe.

Gelastic seizures are known as a form of epilepsy that's rarely seen, according to pediatric neurologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, Dr. Solomon Moshe.

"It's not necessarily 'hahaha' laughing," Moshé said, via Live Science. "There's no happiness in this. Some of the kids may be very scared."

Dr. Burgos Zuleta and medical staff were able to successfully remove the tumor, despite potentially high dangers associated with the procedures and this type of tumor.

Researchers said they hope that this child's success story will help bring awareness about the rare health issue.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, gelastic seizures begin in infancy for about one-third of documented patients and can occur with incredibly high frequency. However, complete diagnosis of the health issue can be more complicated. 

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