Six months ago, Texas mom Lisa Alamia found out firsthand that weird things can happen when you go under the knife. After undergoing a procedure to correct an overbite, she woke up with one very unexpected side effect: Her southern twang had been replaced with an Adele-esque British accent.
Nope, she’s not faking it, people. Lisa’s been diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called foreign accent syndrome (FAS). According to researchers in Houston, less than 100 people in the last 100 years have fallen victim to this bizarre affliction.
According to speech researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas, the condition often occurs due to brain damage from a stroke or traumatic brain injury, though multiple sclerosis could also be a trigger. Neurologist Toby Yaltho, M.D., Lisa’s doctor at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, performed a slew of tests to try to explain how and why it happened to her, but so far, no causes have turned up.
Initially, Lisa was embarrassed and avoided speaking in public, but these days she just explains what happened to anyone who’s curious. Since research is only beginning to understand and address FAS, Lisa is undergoing speech therapy to see if she can get her natural voice and cadence back.