'Uncontrollable' Irish accent developed by US cancer patient

a man being examined by a doctor in a stock photo

Researchers claim that a US man who had never been to Ireland developed an "uncontrollable Irish accent" after receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis.

The North Carolina man, who was in his 50s, was likely suffering from foreign accent syndrome (FAS), according to a report in the British Medical Journal.

The man had no close Irish relatives, and the rare syndrome gave him a "brogue" that lasted until his passing.

Similar cases have been reported frequently in recent years across the globe.

Carolina Urologic Research Center in South Carolina and Duke University in North Carolina jointly investigated and reported on the case.

As far as we are aware, this is the third case of FAS in a patient with cancer and the first case of FAS in a patient with prostate cancer, according to the report's authors.

The report left out a lot of the man's identifying information, like his name and nationality.

In his 20s, he reportedly resided in England and had friends and distant relatives from Ireland. But they also point out that he had never before used the foreign accent.

According to the researchers' report, "His accent was uncontrollable, present in all settings, and gradually became persistent." They also note that it started 20 months into his treatment.

The accent persisted even as his condition deteriorated and persisted until his passing months later.

According to the report, "He had no neurological examination abnormalities, psychiatric history, or MRI of the brain abnormalities at the onset of symptoms.".

"Despite chemotherapy, the patient's neuroendocrine prostate cancer continued to advance, causing multifocal brain metastases and a likely paraneoplastic ascending paralysis that ultimately caused his death. ".

The condition known as paraneoplastic neurological disorder (PND) is thought to be to blame for the voice change, according to the researchers.

PND occurs when the immune systems of cancer patients' muscles, nerves, and spinal cord are attacked, in addition to certain areas of the brain.

Other FAS patients have spoken to the BBC about the unsettling sensation of hearing a "stranger in the house" whenever they speak.

Linda Walker of the UK experienced a stroke in 2006 and later discovered that her Geordie accent had been replaced by a voice with a Jamaican accent.

One of the earliest cases was a young Norwegian woman who, in 1941, acquired a German accent after being struck by bomb shrapnel during an air raid during World War II.

Because they believed she was a Nazi spy, the locals avoided her.

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