Can you die of laughter? In 1975, Alex Mitchell laughed for 25 minutes in a row
Studies show that laughter can stimulate the organs, relieve pain and even improve your immune system. But like all medicines, given the right context, high doses can be harmful.
Alex Mitchell's story is an example of an overdose of laughter.
What was so funny?
Alex Mitchell arrived home from work at dinner time on March 24, 1975. Mitchell was a 50-year-old bricklayer from Norfolk, England, at the time.
After dinner, he turned on the TV to watch his favorite show, The Goodies . The show was a BBC comedy show. The episode of that evening was titled "Kung Fu Kapers" .
The sketch featured a Scotch-clad Scotsman using his bagpipes to fight a martial arts master. The bizarre humor was immediately sold to Mitchell, whose laughter was heard throughout the house. And as the scheme progressed, so did Mitchell's laughter.
Mitchell had laughed for 25 minutes in a row.
It was at this point that he officially exaggerated the laughter. And as his wife said:
"Mitchel laughed one last time, fell on the jar and died."
Science after Mitchell's death
When the doctor examined Mitchell's body, they determined that the cause of his death was due to heart failure. Their best guess was that excessive laughter either caused a stroke or a cardiac arrest. But there was an unusual event, 37 years later, that allowed experts to determine why laughter was so deadly to Mitchell.
Alex Mitchell's granddaughter, Lisa Corke, suffered cardiac arrest in May 2012.
The incident put her in a medically induced coma, and she was only 23 years old at the time. And after examination by experts, Lisa Corke was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome.
According to the US National Institutes of Health:
“Sindroma e gjatë QT është një çrregullim i aktivitetit elektrik të zemrës që mund të shkaktojë rrahje të papritura, të pakontrollueshme dhe të parregullta të zemrës, të cilat mund të çojnë në vdekje të papritur.”
Sindroma e gjatë QT shkakton një pauzë të zgjatur midis rrahjeve të zemrës së viktimës, e shkaktuar zakonisht nga eksitimi ose emocionet e forta. Në shumicën e rasteve, një mutacion i trashëguar i gjenit e shkakton atë. Këto fakte mjekësore i lejuan mjekët të arrinin në përfundimin se Alex Mitchell vuajti dhe vdiq për shkak të së njëjtës sindromë.
Pra, po, mund të vdesësh nga e qeshura. Por nuk ka gjasa nëse nuk keni një gjendje paraekzistuese.
Fortunately, Lisa Corke survived the ordeal. She has since been fitted with an internal cardiac defibrillator to maintain a steady heartbeat. The rest of Mitchell's offspring have undergone tests to determine if they too have the condition.
According to news reports, Mitchell's widow even sent a letter of thanks to The Goodie s cast that made her husband's last moments enjoyable.