Laughter May Trigger Paralysis in Woman With Rare Condition

A 20-year-old college student could become paralyzed by giggling, the BBC News reported Tuesday.

Kay Underwood of Barrow Upon Soar in Leicestershire, England, has cataplexy, a neurological condition often confused with epilepsy.

Patients who have the disorder have sudden attacks of muscle weakness, which can cause them to fall down during times of strong emotions, such as laughter or sadness. Cataplexy occurs in individuals who have narcolepsy, or excessive daytime sleepiness, which Underwood also has.

Underwood said she has collapsed as many as 40 times in a single day, and some people think she is joking.

"I think a lot of people, if I’ve told them about it and they’ve not seen it, would quite like to see me do it [collapse], so they try to make me laugh," she said. "Quite a few people have thought I’m still strange and 'Is she making it up?' And if I collapse, a lot of people have thought I’m just putting it on."

Underwood said she is seeking treatment from a sleep disorder clinic.

Click here to read the full story from the BBC News.