All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for June 2003

Foreign language syndrome as a first sign of multiple sclerosis

Rev Neurol. 2003 Jun 1-16;36(11):1035-9
Villaverde Gonzalez R, Fernandez Villalba E, Moreno Escribano A, Alias Linares E, Garcia Santos JM.
Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca, El Palmar, Espa a.


Foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is a little known disorder affecting language which has been described in a few cases after acute strokes or traumatic brain injuries, but until now has not been reported in multiple sclerosis (MS).

It is characterised by the appearance of what is perceived to be a foreign accent in the language of the patient.

Although it could be included within the dysprosodias that accompany motor aphasias, it should be considered as an entity in its own right, since it may appear without the accompanying aphasia.

Aphasia is an infrequent manifestation of MS and even less so when it appears as an initial symptom of the disease.

When it does occur it usually accompanies large demyelinating lesions in the dominant hemisphere, and it is usually of a motor type.


Patient, aged 38 years, who presented FAS that accompanied mild non fluent aphasia as the first manifestation of MS with pseudotumoral lesions.

Initially the clinical features were interpreted as a somatoform disorder, which delayed diagnosis.


Like aphasia, FAS can occur in MS as a manifestation of a cortical language disorder.

It is important to recognise this in order to prevent mistaken diagnoses.