Rare Disorder Causes Woman to Speak in Foreign Accents


CindyLou Romberg sounds like she could be from any number of exotic countries around the world. She sometimes rolls her "R"s like a Russian, chops syllables like a German or turns an unsuspecting "W" into a "V," like a Swede.

But Romberg is not Russian, German or Swedish. In fact, she has never even left her tiny hometown of Port Angeles, Wash.

Romberg suffers from what doctors call Foreign Accent Syndrome, or FAS, an extremely rare brain disorder that, as the name implies, causes its sufferers to speak as if they are from a foreign country.

The syndrome is likely related to an accident in 1981 when CindyLou suffered a depressed skull fracture after falling out of a moving truck, scientists say. She recovered from a severe brain injury, and spoke normally until just two years ago when she lost her voice for a couple of days after a visit with a chiropractor.

When her voice came back, it was not the one she had grown up with.

Along with the foreign accents, Romberg has also dealt with an inability to say the names of her loved ones, including her daughter, Sadrianna.
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