Woman suffers from strange crying disease

PHOTO: Woman suffers from strange crying disease

Doctors in Singapore reported a 46-year-old Chinese woman suffering from an odd disease, where she bursts into unprovoked violent bouts of weeping daily, up to three times a day.

The strangest part is: she has no recollection of these episodes after they occur.

Their findings were shared in the September edition of the Annals of the Academy of Medicine Singapore.

These episodes occur seemingly for no rhyme or reason, and last approximately 30 minutes each time.

In between the episodes, the doctors monitoring her reported that she appeared calm and cheerful. She reported no depressed mood or any other features of depression such as loss of appetite, sense of hopelessness or suicidal ideas.

Doctors suspect she is suffering from pathological hyperemotionalism, which they believe is associated with a very rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder she was diagnosed with seven years ago.

Called mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke (MELAS) syndrome, the disorder affects the brain, nervous and muscle systems.

The disease is caused by a genome defect inherited purely from the mother.

MELAS syndrome can cause mood disturbances, obsessive compulsive behaviours and brain function impairment.

While 32 per cent of MELAS sufferers have reported depression, the report said it is the first documented case of sudden episodes of uncontrollable and hysterical crying being linked with MELAS.

All these problems began for the woman when she suffered a series of three strokes.

Her first stroke occurred in March 2003. Upon admission to a hospital, she was diagnosed with MELAS.

She suffered from weakness and numbness on her left side, and a month later began reporting persistent low mood, difficulty sleeping, delusions of being persecuted and suicidal ideas.

After a prescription of antidepressants and antipsychotic medication and a course of electroconvulsive therapy, her condition improved.

Five years later she suffered a second stroke. She reported headaches after the stroke, but no depression.

Recently, the woman suffered a third stroke. A week into admission, she began having sudden episodes of drowsiness and had difficulty walking. Soon after her uncontrollable crying and extreme mood swings, which she later can't remember, began.