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Woman suffering from rare disease wakes with British accent

15 February, 2018, 07:53 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • PA Real Life Michelle Myers Cropped

Michelle Myers, a former Texas beauty queen who's never left the U.S., sounds like she's from jolly old England.

Three times in the past seven years, Myers has gone to sleep with blinding headaches only to wake up with a different accent.

The British accent is not the only cadence Myers has experienced, she said. She says that often people don't believe she isn't British nor do they realize there isn't actually that much amusing about the situation, at least not for Myers, who says she wants her condition to be taken very seriously.

The condition is rare, with only about 60 cases reported in the past century, according to a 2011 study.

Michelle Myers, who has foreign accent syndrome, went to sleep with a headache and woke up sounding like Mary Poppins, she told Arizona's ABC15.

Myers suggests her diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which caused her chronic pain from childhood into adulthood, could have triggered her accent change.

Looking back at how she used to be is hard, Myers says. She now wonders whether her voice will ever change again.

Foreign Accent Syndrome is a speech disorder that makes the sufferer sound like they have an accent from another country, according to the University of Texas Dallas. "People like me - we don't care which one it is", she explained. 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. Some of the most common accent changes are British English to French or Chinese, American English to British English, Spanish to Hungarian, and Japanese to Korean. As she watched a video of herself speaking normally with ABC, she stated that "I'm sad..."

Foreign accent syndrome is a lesser-known speech disorder in which the patient loses his ability to talk in the native accent following a brain injury.

The rare condition usually accompanies a stroke, neurological damage, or underlying health issue.

With such a rare disease, there aren't many resources dedicated to research.

She continued: "I have some unbelievable family and friends, who've helped me to realise I'm still the same person - I just sound different". So when she one day addressed her family with a British accent, despite spending her life in Texas and Arizona, everyone took it as a joke. "And if I say unusual things like 'I'm just going to the loo, ' it's really weird, as I sound just like a Brit".

She said: "I felt like I lost a person". She misses the way she used to say her kids' names.


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