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Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Friday, 17 September 2010 12:20 UK
Kath Lockett seeks cure for Foreign Accent Syndrome
Kath Lockett
Kath Lockett hopes to speak with a Staffordshire accent again

Kath Lockett from Stafford is looking for a cure for her very rare condition.

She is one of only around 60 people in the whole world to suffer from Foreign Accent Syndrome.

The mother of two has been fighting for the last four years to find her own voice after a brain disease transformed her Staffordshire accent into something distinctly eastern European.

Now she's hoping the recent publicity surrounding a Cheltenham woman will help to raise awareness.

Brain condition

Kath was born in Staffordshire, raised in Staffordshire and spent all of her life speaking with a Staffordshire accent.

That was until she was struck down with a rare brain condition called severe cerebral vasculitis in 2004. Two years later, she was unable to speak at all.

After treatment, her speech gradually returned, but her voice had changed to a distinctive eastern European lilt.

Since then, she's been battling to get rid of her foreign accent.

Another case

In 2010, the media was full of stories about another case of Foreign Accent Syndrome.

After a serious migraine, Kay Russell, from Bishops Cleeve near Cheltenham, woke up with a European sounding accent.

Kath is now hoping that this new case will also highlight her plight and help her to find a cure.

Facing prejudice

She told BBC Radio Stoke that it affects her daily life. She says that she can't sing anymore and still faces prejudice from people who think she's a foreigner.

Kath insists that sometimes, it even makes her doubt who she is: "I now have what I have and I am still the same person but the problem is having to tell people you're from here all the time and where you're from.

"It makes you realise you don't know where you're from anymore because you feel like you've lost your identity."

Researchers at Oxford University have found that patients with the condition have suffered damage to tiny areas of the brain that affect speech.

The syndrome was first identified during World War II, when a Norwegian woman suffered shrapnel damage to her brain and developed a strong German accent.




SEE ALSO
Brain bug changes woman's accent
10 Jul 06 |  Staffordshire
What is foreign accent syndrome?
28 Apr 09 |  Magazine

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