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Foreign Accent Syndrome

13 Jul

Karen Butler had a dental appointment. All went well except for one little thing—when it was over she “talked funny.” Her dentist told her that once the pain and swelling resolved her voice would again be normal. Not true. Though Karen is American, she developed a new accent that seem to be a mixture of English, Irish, and other European languages. How is this possible?

There is a very rare neurological disorder called Foreign Accent Syndrome. It typically follows some form of brain injury such as trauma, stroke, or infection. There have been only around 100 cases identified. The accent can be anything–German, French, Chinese, anything.

In Karen Butler’s case she most likely suffered a small stroke while under dental anesthesia. This has not been proven yet but that’s most likely the underlying cause of her new accent.

An odd syndrome to say the least.

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6 responses to “Foreign Accent Syndrome

  1. Pj Schott

    July 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    More to that story, me thinketh.

     
  2. Teresa

    July 14, 2011 at 5:49 am

    This has to be the weirdest syndrome I’ve ever heard of.
    Very interesting.
    Teresa R.

     
  3. Pat Marinelli

    July 14, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I saw this woman on the news and they showed her talking before and after. Amazing. Hubby said it was like listening to a different person speaking.

     
  4. Fritz Strobl MD

    July 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

    As a Neurologist, we still some pretty wierd stuff. I have never seen that. Nice article. One suspects some dysarthria at work here. Although one always had to be open to psychologic/litigation issues.

     
  5. J.D.

    July 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Are you sure? lol.

     
  6. Curtis

    July 18, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Or…Karen is a foreign sleeper agent deep under cover and the anesthesia unwittingly triggered formerly repressed memories and mannerisms. Soon she will also start having dreams in which she plots the assassination of a high-level government official….

     

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