Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Mother suffering from rare disease wakes up with British accent

Mother suffering from rare disease wakes up with British accent

Michelle Myers, a mum of seven who lives in Buckeye, Arizona and has never left the United States. They all started with an extreme headache and ended in a freakish change in speech - first Irish, then Australian and now British, the station reports. But a British accent has lingered for two years now.

At various points, Australian and Irish accents have inexplicably flowed from her mouth for about two weeks, then disappeared, Myers says.

Myers can't pronounce her children's names the same, has been mistaken for a nanny and asked if she has a green card, The Sun reports.

Dr. Toby Yaltho, a neurologist with Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, says, "Foreign Accent Syndrome".

"When I was a little girl I used to always go to my mom and say, 'my bones hurt", she said.

Although Myers is not believed to have ever had a stroke, she was also diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome which causes skin bruising and can make the joints so flexible that they dislocate. The injury distorted the rhythm and melody of her speech, suggesting a foreign accent to those who heard her speak. It usually accompanies a stroke, neurological damage or other underlying medical issues.

According to experts in the field, what she's suffering from is a very real thing and not fabricated in the least. As far as doctors can tell, it's also this syndrome that caused her to take on different accents after she fell asleep with a headache. There have only been about 100 cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome diagnosed over the last century.

FAS cases had been documented around the world, with patients speaking changing accents from Japanese to Korean, British English to French, American English to British English, and Spanish to Hungarian.

It's unclear precisely what triggered Myers' symptoms - or if she actually has FAS or something else entirely. Alamia says, "I don't feel like a different person at all. The person I am now has been through so much compared to this person".

"Some people think it's physiological; others think it's psychological", she told the station. She said she stays positive, but she wants people to take her seriously. While the origins of her condition aren't now clear other than the connection to a chronic illness, she honestly doesn't care where the accent changes came from - only that she receives the help that she needs. "I try to tell people, I'm still me".

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