A North Carolina American who had prostate cancer surgery began to speak with a foreign Irish accent, even though he had never been to Ireland. His case was described by American scientists, according to whom the explanation of this case is a poorly known syndrome.
An unusual case of a man with prostate cancer from North Carolina was described by a group of American scientists in the January issue of the scientific magazine BMJ Journal, and on March 2, the case was reported by the English-language media. As explained, after surgery for metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer, a 50-year-old man began to show symptoms of an extremely rare condition called foreign accent syndrome (FAS). He spoke with an Irish accent for about 20 consecutive months until his death.
A cancer patient began to speak with a foreign accent
As noted, although in his youth the surveyed man lived in Englandwhere he made friends with the Irish, he never visited himself Ireland and he had never spoken with an Irish accent before. “His accent was uncontrollable, present in all conditions. It gradually became more and more (in his case – ed.)” – the scientists estimate in the content of the work, quoted by the British “Independent”.
The researchers suspect that the 50-year-old’s accent change was due to paraneoplastic neurological syndrome (PND), a condition in which a cancer patient’s immune system attacks their nervous system, including parts of the spinal cord, nerves and muscles. If their findings are correct, the 50-year-old is the first recorded case of developing foreign accent syndrome following PND caused by prostate cancer.
Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS)
The foreign accent syndrome (FAS) found in a man is a disease syndrome belonging to the group of speech disorders. This condition is associated with brain damage, such as from a stroke, which causes a sudden change in speech patterns. Foreign accent syndrome is poorly described in science, so far only about a hundred cases of it have been diagnosed worldwide. It was first recognized by the Norwegian neurologist Monrad-Krohn in a woman who suffered a severe head injury during World War II. Soon after, she began to speak with a distinct German accent.
In 2010, the British “Guardian” reported the story of Sarah Colwill, a British woman whose native accent was replaced by Chinese, about seven years after she suffered a stroke. Six years later, FAS was diagnosed in an American woman from Texas who, after jaw surgery, began to speak with a British accent. In 2018, this syndrome was diagnosed in a former beauty pageant from the United States, who after a series of severe migraines began to sound like a native British, even though she never traveled outside USA.
BMJ Journal, Independent, Guardian
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