38-year old Sarah Colwill was rushed to the hospital for an intense migraine in 2010. When she woke up, she discovered something she never expected, instead of her familiar English accent, she spoke with a strong Chinese accent, leaving doctors bewildered.
The incident happened in 2010 and after going through several tests, experts believe her condition was caused by a side effect of a rare neurological condition called, “Foreign Accent Syndrome” or FAS.
Colwill is only one in only 150 reported cases of FAS.
Colwill’s story was featured in a BBC documentary The Woman Who Woke Up Chinese which was aired Tuesday, She recounts how FAS made her feel like she’s trapped in her own body.
Apart from gaining a strange accent, FAS also caused vocabulary loss and physical pain while trying to write English.
In the BBC documentary, another sufferer of FAS was left with a French accent in place of her British accent after coming out of a severe migraine.
More and more cases of FAS have been recorded worldwide though neurological experts are still baffled as to what’s causing the condition.
Around the world, similar cases of people waking up to a startling new accent have been reported. One of the most popular was the case of an Englishman who awoke from a coma after suffering a massive stroke, speaking in fluent Welsh despite never learning the language at all!
Just last June, an Australian woman spoke out about the difficulties she endured living with FAS for eight years after she developed a strong French accent after surviving a car crash.
According to UT Dallas, FAS is likely caused by damage to the brain brought on by stroke or through traumatic brain injury. Scientists are looking deeper into the connection between FAS and migraines. Corwill says she suffers from severe migraine 10 times in a month. Most of FAS sufferers report enduring terrible headaches years before developing the condition.