A US cancer patient in his 50s from North Carolina developed an uncontrollable Irish accent despite having never visited Ireland. The case was jointly studied and reported by Duke University in North Carolina and the Carolina Urologic Research Center in South Carolina. According to the researchers, the voice change was caused by a condition called paraneoplastic neurological disorder (PND), which happens when cancer patients’ immune systems attack parts of their brain, as well as muscles, nerves, and the spinal cord.
Over a few months, the patient reportedly started to notice changes in his speech and pronunciation. The accent change was so dramatic that even his own family members and friends had trouble recognizing his voice. The patient has reportedly received speech therapy to try and regain control over his voice, but the accent persists.
The researchers said the man’s case is extremely rare, and only a few dozen similar cases have been recorded in medical literature. The case has sparked confusion and fascination among the medical community and the general public alike.
In an interview, Dr. Ronald Banks, an expert in speech and language disorders, explained that the phenomenon of accent changes in speech disorders is not entirely unheard of. “It’s usually a result of brain damage that affects the way we use language, such as a stroke or a traumatic brain injury,” he said. “However, in this case, it seems that the accent change was caused by the patient’s immune system attacking the brain.”
The patient’s case was also reported in the British Medical Journal, which said the man was being treated for cancer and had a history of smoking. The researchers suggest that more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between cancer and PND.
The case has gained international attention, with news outlets around the world reporting on the man’s mysterious accent change. While the situation is certainly unusual and alarming for the patient, it has also raised awareness about the rare and complicated condition of PND.
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