In a truly bizarre case, doctors have documented for the first time a man who appears to have developed a random Irish accent after getting prostate cancer — a disease that eventually killed him.
As a recent paper in the journal BMJ Case Reports, the man in question was in his 50s when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Normal enough — except that 20 months into his illness, he developed what the researchers called an "uncontrollable 'Irish brogue.'"
Weirder still: the American man didn't have an Irish background and had never even been to Ireland — though he did, as the paper notes, live briefly in England in his 20s and knew people from Ireland.
This bizarre affliction, known more generally as "foreign accent syndrome," is a motor speech disorder most often caused by strokes or traumatic brain injuries in which people's speech patterns change in a manner that makes them sound like they've suddenly developed a "foreign" accent that has no correlation to their country of origin.
FAS has only been documented about 100 times since it was first defined in 1907, and as such is considered to be exceedingly rare. As the writers of the BMJ journal paper note, cancer-linked FAS symptoms are usually accompanied by brain tumors and the disorder had never before been seen with prostate cancer.
In the case of this poor bloke, doctors suspected that he likely developed neurological damage as a result of his immune response to his unusually-aggressive form of prostate cancer, which spread throughout his body in spite of attempts at treatment and eventually reached his brain.
While FAS symptoms often gradually lessen and even disappear as people recover from their underlying brain injuries, the strange accent continued until the man died — which could easily be seen as a medical case study version of last year's surprising box office smash "Banshees of Inisherin," a dark fairy tale that takes place on an eerily pastoral Irish island.
While it's no "In Bruges," this tale of misbegotten Irishness is a startling reminder of how complex and delicate our neurological systems can be — and how easy it is for the works to get gummed up.
More on strange speech: Magazine Publishes Serious Errors in First AI-Generated Health Article