Doctors in Canada are baffled. Rosemarie Dore has lived all of her 50 years in southern Ontario, yet after suffering a stroke two years ago, something is different.
She now speaks with an east coast "Maritime" accent.
Soon after recovering, her family noticed the differences. Dr. Karin Humphreys of McMaster University said it involves "a change in some of the very precise mechanisms of speech-motor planning in the brain's circuitry.” The unexplainable change in accents was highlighted in the latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.
While cases of foreign-accent syndrome (FAS) are extremely rare, they do occur. An American named Tiffany Roberts made headlines in 1999 after developing a British accent, described by The Telegraph as "a cross between Eliza Doolittle and Sybil Fawlty". Later in 2004, Lynda Walker of England suddenly dropped her thick accent following her stroke and began speaking like a Jamaican.
The most curious aspect of some of these cases is that some of these people had never been exposed to the accents previously.
Can the stopping and restarting of the heart really change who we are as a person? Or is this something that traditional science simply can't rationally explain away?