American Woman Develops British Accent After Surgery

If you've always dreamed of having a British accent, this might make you thank your lucky stars for your natural dialect. A few months ago, a woman in Texas woke up from jaw surgery to find that her southern twang was gone — and was mysteriously replaced by a British accent.

Don't believe it? At first, neither did the friends and family of Lisa Alamia, a mother of three in Rosenberg, TX. But after visiting Toby Yaltho, MD, a neurologist at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, Alamia was diagnosed with a rare speech condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS).

The condition, of which many neurologists are still skeptical, has likely affected no more than 100 people in the past century, Dr. Yaltho told ABC news. He also noted that although FAS is usually a result of brain injury or stroke, his tests on Alamia showed no signs of trauma, making her case even more unusual.

"I can't think of a reason the jaw surgery would cause it," Dr. Yaltho told an ABC affiliate in Houston. "I went back and looked at the operative report to see if there were any complications from surgery but there weren't any."

Other documented cases
of FAS have included people whose accents switched from Japanese to Korean, Spanish to Hungarian, and British to French. The phenomenon most commonly occurs after a stroke, but it has also been observed in people with brain lesions or following a brain injury, according to information from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. As in Alamia's case, it's also possible for FAS to occur without known cause. Though speech therapy is often recommended to patients, there is currently no proven treatment for FAS.

Fearing that people would think she was faking it, Alamia was nervous to speak out about her condition. Now, her story is going viral, and she hopes that it will spur more research on Foreign Accent Syndrome, she said in an interview with KVUE news.

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