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When Laughing is a Symptom: Bollywood Star Reveals Battle with Rare Laughing Disorder

Daniel Kim Views  

Anushka Shetty, a renowned Indian actress known for her roles in films like Baahubali: The Beginning, has revealed that she is battling a rare neurological disease.

According to local media outlets, including The Times of India and The Indian Express, on the 24th, Shetty admitted in a recent interview that she suffers from a “laughing disorder.”

The condition, called Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA), is also colloquially known as “laughing disease” as it causes sudden, uncontrollable bouts of laughter or crying.

This disorder is also why the protagonist, Arthur Fleck (played by Joaquin Phoenix), in the 2019 movie Joker, suffers from sudden uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying that are disproportionate or inappropriate to the situation.

“People often ask, ‘What’s wrong with laughing?’ But for me, it’s a problem. Once I start laughing, I can’t stop for 15 to 20 minutes,” Shetty said, adding that her uncontrollable laughter has even caused filming to be halted multiple times.

Dr. Sudhir Kumar, an Indian neurologist, noted that “the triggers for laughter can be very trivial for those suffering from this condition. It can be different from an emotional response.” He added, “People with ‘laughing disease’ can be very embarrassed, as they burst into laughter even in situations that people won’t typically find amusing.”

PBA is considered a type of neurological disorder rather than a mental illness, but the exact cause has not yet been determined.

“PBA can result from various neurological disorders such as traumatic brain injury, but there are also many cases with no apparent cause,” Dr Kumar explained.

“In such instances, it is often attributed to a dysfunction in the brain’s neural pathways.”

As the causes remain unclear, diagnosing the disease can also be challenging.

Dr.Vinit Banga, a neurologist at BLK Max Hospital, stated, “Diagnosis is difficult because it is not always accompanied by typical epileptic symptoms like seizures.”

Medication can help alleviate the symptoms of PBA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved dextromethorphan, a soothing ingredient, and quinidine, an antiarrhythmic drug, for PBA treatment.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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