After living in the US throughout her life, a former beauty queen of Arizona has woken up with a British accent on one fine day, surprising medical experts, and her family members.
Michelle Myers, who has been suffering from debilitating headaches for the past few years started speaking British accent from 2015 after she slept off the previous day with a severe 'blinding headache'. Even after two years, her British accent has not faded away, despite various psychiatric consultations.
This is not the first time that Myers is talking English in various accents after episodes of painful sleep. Previously, she has woken up with Australian and Irish accents, and in the course of time, these accents faded away, paving the way to her original US accent. But this time, the British accent which she started speaking in 2015 is not fading away.
"Everybody only sees or hears Mary Poppins," said Michelle Myers.
As Michelle Myers started speaking British accent abruptly, many people started telling that she is faking the accent. But experts made it clear that the lady is suffering from a rare condition called 'Foreign Accent Syndrome'. This disease is usually seen in people who have suffered strokes or brain injuries. According to experts, disorders like stroke creates a sudden change to the language center of a person, thus making him speak with a foreign accent.
It was long back in 1907 when the first case of Foreign Accent Syndrome was reported. A Paris neurologist named Pierre Marie found a French man speaking in German accent after suffering from a stroke. According to reports, only 100 cases of Foreign Accent Syndrome were reported in the last 100 years.
Interestingly, Michelle Myers never had a stroke, but it is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome which makes her prone to foreign accent speaking. According to experts, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a painful condition and is believed to be connected to Myer's speaking disorder.
Toby Yaltho, a neurologist with Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, told Health Aim that the condition "is not actually speaking a foreign accent. The people hearing them were the only ones who associate an accent with how the sufferers speak."
Echoing similar opinion, Sheila Blumstein, a cognitive linguist at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island, says, "A lot of us have concluded that foreign accent syndrome is in the ears of the beholder."
However, the explanation still requires an all-round explanation as genetic reasons behind it are not entirely rule out nor probed so far.