Yes, it is possible to die from laughing, but don’t let this stop you enjoying your favourite sitcom. There are just a handful of reported cases, usually due to intense laughter causing a heart attack or suffocation.
People have also been known to faint from laughing, which can lead to injuries, and some narcolepsy sufferers report temporary losses of consciousness triggered by laughter or other strong emotions. There are some very rare fatal brain conditions that can cause uncontrollable laughter.
- What’s the point of laughter?
- Why do jokes make us laugh?
- Why do people laugh when they’re nervous?
- Why does laughing make you feel better?
Asked by: Sarah Storrs, Belfast
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Dr Claire Asher is a science journalist and has a PhD in Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (GEE) at the University of Leeds. She also works part time as Manager of the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Network, based at Imperial College London. Asher is also the author of Brave Green World: How Science Can Save Our Planet.