An American patient with prostate cancer developed an “uncontrollable” Irish accent late in life, despite never having visited Ireland.
This emerges from a case study published by the British Medical Journal that paints a portrait of a rare complication called Foreign Accent Syndrome, reports The Guardian.
“His accent was out of control,” according to the study, conducted by researchers at Duke University and the Urological Research Institute of South Carolina.
The scientists also state that the patient retained this accent for about twenty months before he died from complications from his cancer.
This syndrome can develop after a head injury, a stroke, or when the patient has a psychiatric disorder, the case study continues.
However, the researchers had no reason to believe that the patient in question had any of these predispositions.
Their theory is therefore that he may have developed a paraneoplastic neurological disorder which would be responsible for the arrival of the Irish accent.
Some people who develop this syndrome eventually return to their original accent, while for others the change is permanent.
This case study requires further study and further research to better understand this syndrome, the authors conclude.