Boy Treated for Rare, Uncontrollable “Laughing Seizures”

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NEW YORK, New York – It’s a one-in-a-million disorder that’s baffled doctors, until now.

2-year-old Matthew Ephrem, of Minnesota, has a brain lesion that causes him to burst into spontaneous and uncontrollable giggling spasms that overtake his body hundreds of times a day.

The outbursts are called Hypothalamic Hamartoma, and they often leave the boy confused and disoriented.

“It’s heartbreaking,” says Tigist Feyisa, Matthew’s mother. “I mean heartbreaking to find out your child has a tumor.”

Dr. Harold Rekate is the nation’s leading authority in the condition. The neurosurgeon performed two complex and extremely risky operations to remove the nerve masses through the top of Matthew’s head.

“It’s hard to imagine he could have done better. The surgery went beautifully,” said Dr. Rekate.

Since the treatment, Matthew’s laughter spasms stopped. He was eating and drinking again, even saying new words.

“There is no word to explain how happy we are with result,” expressed Matthew’s father, Ephrem Mekonnen. “Since he had the surgery almost 10 days ago, no seizure, no laughing, and he is becoming himself.”

Matthew will stay in the hospital for another week of observation.


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