By: April Carson
Astonishingly, a North Carolina man developed an indomitable Irish accent following his treatment for prostate cancer- it lasted until his very death. This remarkable yet saddening phenomenon was documented and published in the British Medical Journal.
A man in his 50s, whose identity was kept confidential, possibly experienced foreign accent syndrome (FAS) after being subjected to androgen deprivation therapy and given abiraterone acetate/prednisone as a prescription. This treatment is intended to reduce testosterone levels and slow the progression of prostate cancer.
According to the report, during his twenties, this man resided in England and had acquaintances as well as distant relatives from Ireland. Interestingly enough, however, he had never traveled there nor ever spoken with a foreign accent.
As detailed in their report, the four researchers discovered that 20 months into his treatment plan, his accent was apparent in all situations and grew increasingly more pronounced.
The patient's speech was described as having a “strong Kerry/Cork accent” which sounded very similar to his Irish relatives. The patient also noted he had difficulty controlling the accent in situations such as job interviews, where his normal voice would resurface for a few words before reverting to an Irish one.
Across the world, a few similar cases have been observed in recent years, however, this appears to be the inaugural instance of FAS reported in an individual with prostate cancer and the third one described among someone with malignancy.
Scientists postulate that the alteration of his voice was likely due to a condition known as a paraneoplastic neurological disorder (PND). PND is an autoimmune response wherein cancer patients' immune systems attack components of their brain, spinal cord, muscles, and nerves. In this instance, the PND likely disrupted the muscles and nerves responsible for controlling subtle movements of his vocal tract associated with speech.
Sadly, even after receiving chemotherapy for his neuroendocrine prostate cancer, the man's condition deteriorated and he developed multifocal brain metastases as well as probable paraneoplastic ascending paralysis. Miraculously though, despite all this suffering he experienced right up until his death months later - his accent was still unchanged. Interestingly enough upon further examination, there were no neurological abnormalities or history of psychiatric illness found when looking through an MRI taken at symptom onset which also did not display any brain irregularities.
The BBC reported that those who have had to confront FAS described it as having the uneasy sensation of a "foreigner in their home" each time they talk.
In 1941, the medical community documented a case of Foreign Accent Syndrome when shrapnel from an airstrike during World War II struck a young Norwegian woman. As a result of her new German accent, locals isolated and mocked her as they falsely assumed she was a Nazi spy - which Medical News Today reported.
In 2014, a North Carolina man developed an "uncontrollable" Irish accent after being diagnosed with cancer. As the BBC reported, doctors couldn't explain why - despite MRI scans displaying no irregularities in his brain structure - he had suddenly adopted an Irish brogue.
In 2006, it was reported that Linda Walker of the United Kingdom developed a Jamaican-sounding accent after having experienced a severe stroke. Even more remarkable is that her native accent had been the Geordie dialect commonly spoken in Northern England before the incident.
According to a 2019 British Medical Journal study, 49 people with foreign accent syndrome experienced changes in their speech that lasted from two months up to 18 years. On average, these individuals had the new accents for three years.
Yahoo News recently shared a collaborative study conducted by the Duke University of North Carolina and the Carolina Urologic Research Center in South Carolina. The study focuses on a patient from North Carolina who developed an uncontrollable Irish accent following his cancer diagnosis.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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