Harvard Health Letter

Four sob stories

The effect of tears and three other tales of woe.

We expect babies and children to cry, but House Speaker John Boehner's well-chronicled weepiness is a reminder that adults (including menfolk) shed plenty of tears, too. Grief, personal conflict, and feelings of inadequacy are among the main reasons, but grown-ups also fill buckets at weddings, graduations, and reunions because they are so happy. Having a good cry every now and then may not be a bad idea. But crying too easily — or for no apparent reason — can be a symptom of brain damage from a neurological condition like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) or multiple strokes.

Crying is a big topic, but here's a quick rundown on four areas of investigation.

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