American Cancer Patient Develops Permanent Irish Accent, Researchers Say

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ National Cancer Institute

An American Cancer patient developed a case of Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) causing him to speak with a permanent Irish accent in what doctors believe to be a

“neurological disorder triggered by his immune system,”

NY Post reported.

The unnamed man who is reportedly in his 50s had undergone treatment for his prostate cancer at Duke University in Durham, NC, when he acquired the unusual disorder. The man has never spoken with an

“Irish brogue accent”

before his diagnosis, according to a report published in the January issue of BMJ Case Reports. 

“His accent was uncontrollable, present in all settings and gradually became persistent,”

according to the report, which was co-authored by researchers from Carolina Urologic Research Center in South Carolina.

However, researchers noted that the man lived in England for a short time and had Irish friends and family members. Doctors say, the condition is known as a paraneoplastic neurological disorder, which is

“set off as the patient’s immune system fought the cancer.” 

It is possible that the patient’s cancer-fighting agents attacked parts of his brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, or muscle, resulting in the foreign accent syndrome, according to the report. Over time, the man developed paralysis in his legs and arms, which the researchers said is a sign of

“paraneoplastic syndrome,”

before eventually dying.

“To our knowledge, this is the first case of FAS described in a patient with prostate cancer and the third described in a patient with malignancy,”

the report states.

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