Sunday, 8 May 2016

Rare migraine causes Scottish woman to speak with CHINESE accent

Elizabeth Barnes

Elizabeth Barnes thought she’d suffered a stroke after a debilitating headache left her weakened on the left side of her body.

But tests revealed she was suffering from a hemiplegic migraine - and in an even more unusual twist, every time she has an attack she also develops Foreign Accent Syndrome.

The syndrome is thought to affect less than 100 people worldwide and there are even fewer cases where the accent comes and goes on a temporary basis.

Mrs Barnes, who lives in Ayr, said it was her husband Richard who first noticed her voice was changing each time she suffered a migraine.

She added: “I was speaking like a Chinese person trying to speak English.

It was her husband who noticed it saying she sounded different, she hadn’t realised it at first.

“My teenage children who are 18 and 15 initially thought it was really funny but when it didn’t go away they realised it was something more serious.

“There are other people that suffer from Foreign Accident Syndrome but for them it is constant.

“My neurologist is quite excited about my case because the Chinese accent comes and goes with the migraine attacks. Apparently it is not your typical text book case.”

Mrs Barnes, 43, who works as a paraplanner in an estate agents, can be hit by a migraine – and therefore an accent change – in everyday situations such as filling up her car or doing her shopping.