An Oregon woman who underwent anesthesia for oral surgery a year and a half ago woke up to find she looked the same, but sounded very different – she had developed foreign accent syndrome, Q13fox.com reported.
Karen Butler, who lives in Butler, Ore., told The Oregonian she “sounded like (she) was from Transylvania,” and it softened a little over time – but she still has not recovered her original Northwestern tone.
Doctors diagnosed Butler with foreign accent syndrome, a neurological condition that has only been documented 60 times in the last 100 years.
"What happens with foreign accent syndrome to the best of our understanding is that a very, very small part of the speech area is affected so that the normal intonation of speech gets altered," said Dr. Ted Lowenkopf, medical director of the Providence Stroke Center.
Butler said she does not hear the accent unless she watches herself on video.
Foreign accent syndrome is usually caused by strokes, but it can also be associated with migraines, head injuries and multiple sclerosis.