Woman suffering from rare disease, wakes with British accent


Michelle Myers, a mum of seven who lives in Buckeye, Arizona and has never left the United States.

On three separate occasions since 2011, Myers suffered severe headaches and surprisingly woke up with a different accent each time. But she's had the British accent the past two years. The woman responded to those who called her an attention-seeker by saying that when she first revealed what had happened to her, she was sent straight to a psychiatrist.

Despite the diagnosis, Myers just wants her normal voice back. She was diagnosed with foreign accent syndrome - a rare condition that usually accompanies a stroke, neurological damage, or underlying health issue.

"When I was a little girl I used to always go to my mom and say, 'my bones hurt", the Texas beauty queen stated.

Myers did not have any strokes, but she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which causes bruising and super flexibility in joints that allow them to dislocate.

Shelia Blumstein, a Brown University linguist who has written extensively on FAS, said sufferers typically produce grammatically correct language, unlike many stroke or brain-injury victims, she told The Washington Post for a 2010 story about a Virginia woman who fell down a stairwell, rattled her brain and awoke speaking with a Russian-like accent.

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Foreign Accent Syndrome was first documented in 1907 by Pierre Marie, a French neurologist. She also likes painting, writing, and motivating people. "I feel like a different person", she said, watching videos of herself speaking in her American accent.

Because this is such a rare condition, treatments are also lacking.

Since then, researchers have published more than 100 case studies of FAS.

Michelle Myers' story follows a case in 2016 when a Californian woman developed a Scottish accent through foreign accent syndrome. It is possible that this might have led to Myers's unusual change in accents.

While having an accent change may not seem like a big deal, Myers is saddened by the way her condition has affected her life.

"The person I am now has been through so much, compared to the person here". "People like me - we don't care which one it is", she explained. "We just really want to be taken seriously and if it is something that's going to hurt me, help me". The speech rhythms and pronunciations sound like other accents.