Recently, a woman called Karen Butler has been gaining attention from American media because of her British accent … despite never having even been to Europe!
Karen Butler, from Toledo, Oregon, has become something of a local attraction since her dental surgery to remove a number of teeth in November 2009. Following the surgery – which was quite significant, needing all her top teeth and a number of her bottom teeth removed – she suffered with altered speech while the swelling around her mouth went down. A common and not unexpected side effect and one her dentist told her would pass after the swelling went down. But once she had made a full physical recovery, she found she had a European accent, either British, Swedish or Eastern European, according to different people.
Foreign Accent Syndrome
After the problem continued for a number of weeks, Butler did some research and believed she had the symptoms of the aptly named, Foreign Accent Syndrome. While this is usually a very rare side effect of brain injury, Karen Butler insists she has it. The syndrome is also accepted by neuroscientists to be a genuine syndrome and not just something created by the patient.
Karen Butler is not looking at the downside however, and has been carrying on with her life as normal, with the only difference being a family who occasionally make word requests to their new novelty.
Before any potential or current patients of Harley Street get worried about something similar happening to them (imagine walking out of a dental surgery with an American accent for example!) we would like to say that we have never had a patient suffer from Foreign Accent Syndrome and find it very hard to believe we will at any point in the future … the syndrome is of course, usually associated with brain injury and is rare even then.
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