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Laughing Can Be Dangerous

Update Date: Dec 12, 2013 07:00 PM EST

While some say laughter is the best medicine, a new study reveals that it can be dangerous for some patients.

British researchers reviewed the reported benefits and harms of laughter by looking at data published between 1946 and 2013.

Some benefits of laughter include increasing pain thresholds, reducing arterial wall stiffness and lowering the risk of heart attack. Other benefits of laughter include lowering blood sugar in diabetics and boosting fertility in women undergoing IVF treatment.

However, researchers said that laughter could also have fatal consequences. They explained that a woman with racing heart syndrome suffered a heart rupture and a torn gullet after a period of intense laughter. The quick intake of breath during laughing can lead to the inhalation of foreign bodies and can provoke an asthma attack. Laughing can also cause incontinence and hernias.

The paper will be published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ

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