An Arizona woman went to bed with an extreme headache and woke up in the morning with a British accent even though she has never travelled outside of the United States.
Michelle Myers of Buckeye, Arizona has also woken up speaking with what sounds like Australian and Irish accents in the past only to have them fade away, but her British accent has stuck around for two years, she told ABC affiliate KNXV.
Doctors say it’s all due to an extremely rare medical condition.
Myers, 45, has been diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome (FAS). The disorder typically occurs after strokes or traumatic brain injuries that damage the language center of a person’s brain.
The disorder affects the person’s voice so they sound like they are speaking with a foreign accent, according to the Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Unlike many stroke victims, a person with FAS usually speaks grammatically correct, but will stress different syllables or drop letters, so an American “yeah” will sound more like a Scandinavian “yah” or “this” or “that” will sound like “dis” or “dat”.
Myers told Fox News that doctors attribute her FAS to her hemiplegic migraines, which produce symptoms similar to a stroke. Myers also suffers from Ehlers-Danlos, a condition that makes skin elastic and joints flexible to the point of dislocation.
Living with FAS has meant that Myers has had jokes at her expense. “Everybody only sees or hears Mary Poppins,” Myers told the KNXW. She is sad about it, but she says she has come to terms that she may never sound like her old self.
Only about 60 cases have been documented according to a 2011 study by the National Institutes of Health and span the globe.
Myers is currently seeking treatment for her rare condition, with the hope of being cured.