ROSENBERG, TX -- Lisa Alamia is a Texan, through and through, but you wouldn't know it when she speaks. That's because she recently had surgery on her lower jaw six months ago, and she's had a British accent ever since.
"I didn't notice it at first," said Alamia, who is of Mexican heritage. "But my husband told me I was talking funny. My surgeon thought it was just a physical result of the surgery and that it would go away as I healed."
Some people may think it is a joke, but it isn't and needed to see a specialist. She ended up seeing Dr. Toby Yaltho, a Houston neurologist. He diagnosed her with foreign accent syndrome, an extremely rare condition where people speak with a different accent, usually after some kind of head trauma or stroke. In some cases, like Alamia's, there's no clear cause.
"There's only been about 100 known cases of foreign accent syndrome in the past 100 years," said Yaltho. "Most neurologists work their entire careers and never come across this."
Yaltho gave Alamia a complete neurological exam and determined she didn't have a brain injury, hadn't suffered a stroke and didn't have any complications from her surgery.
Alamia said Yaltho told her there's "Something going on in my brain that is triggering the accent."
Alamia's doing speech therapy to try to get her old voice back, and that's helped a little, but if her Texas drawl never returns, she's just fine with that.
"I feel like myself. It just comes out differently and that's what I try to tell people, I'm still me," Alamia said.
And with the Brexit vote having just taken place, it seems her accent is fitting right in with the times.