There is a disease causing the incessant urge to play puns

There is a disease causing the incessant urge to play puns

When playing puns becomes a necessity more than a fun, then it may be a question of a real disease, called “Witzelsucht”.

It is said that playing puns is a sign of good mental health. But when these jokes are uttered to excess, they should be considered more carefully, because they could reflect a disturbance. This case, among others reported by the BBC, seems to have taken place in the United States. For five years, a woman put up with her husband’s incessant puns, who even woke her up at night to tell her a new joke.

He keeps making puns and fills 50 pages with them

The wife had convinced her husband to put his puns on paper, and the man had been quick to blacken out 50 pages. No longer able to bear it, his wife took them to a neurologist at the University of California (State of Los Angeles). The specialist testified to an interview that was difficult to conduct because of a patient who kept joking and who was not easy to interrupt.

A disease called “Witzelsucht”

The neurologist diagnosed this man with a disease called Witzelsucht (meaning “joking addiction”). Because this patient, victim of two strokes five years apart, is in fact not directly responsible for his puns. Following a cerebral hemorrhage ten years earlier, this man’s right frontal lobe had been damaged, initiating a change in personality. This before suffering a second attack which, this time, caused damage to the left “caudate nucleus”.

One of the first recorded cases in 1929

One of the first cases of this kind appeared in 1929. German neurologist Otfrid Foerster, as was customary at the time, operated on a man without anesthesia to remove a tumor. And when the specialist started manipulating the cancerous growth, his patient started cracking jokes. In other situations subsequently identified, subjects show themselves, conversely, to be hermetic to the jokes of others. Again, these alterations would have been caused by damage to part of the brain.

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