Why the last cannibals died laughing

11/15/2012 | Global Mail (Australia), The

After participating in traditional cannibalistic feasts intended to speed deceased loved ones' souls on their journey to the afterlife, many Papua New Guineans were struck down by kuru -- a strange, fatal affliction in which, among other symptoms, sufferers burst into uncontrollable laughter. Kuru was successfully eliminated, along with ritual cannibalism, but researchers are still studying the disease in a bid to learn more about neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

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Global Mail (Australia), The

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