One of the first known patients was reported after World War II by Norwegian neurologist Georg Herman Monrad-Krohn. He described a Norwegian woman who was hit on the head by a bomb fragment during the war and began to speak with a German-like accent. Because of her speech, she became the target of anti-German sentiment.
More recent cases include a Florida woman speaking with a British accent, a Japanese woman sounding to other Japanese as if she were Korean and a South Carolina man developing a French-like accent.
"I have only seen a couple of people with [foreign accent syndrome] ... and I've seen a lot of stroke patients in my time," said Dr. Julius Fridriksson, an associate professor of neuroscience at the University of South Carolina who worked with the South Carolina patient. "These folks have brain damage that alters the way the neurological system works."
While it may be true that musical taste resides in the ear of the beholder, it is somewhat less common that a song can send a listener into an epileptic seizure.
But such was the experience of Stacey Gayle. Worse, the song that brought about her seizure was by dancehall reggae artist Sean Paul -- a favorite or hers.
"It was terrible," Gayle, a 24-year-old New Yorker, told ABCNews.com. "It didn't even have to be that loud."
One of Gayle's first music-induced seizures happened at a cookout where the song "Temperature" was being played. Some time after this, she had a similar experience at a restaurant.
The seizures were so bad that Gayle finally had part of her brain surgically removed in an effort to control her problem.
"She realized her life was going out of control with these seizures happening," said Dr. Ashesh Mehta, the director of epilepsy surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
Mehta recalled meeting Gayle in February to discuss her condition. When Gayle's mother played '"Temperature" on an MP3 player for her daughter to hear, a music-induced seizure followed.
"It was amazing to me," said Mehta. "We got a seizure when we put her music on."
Brain researchers believe such seizures can occur when the part of the brain that processes emotions associated with a certain type of music overlap with areas of the brain that trigger seizures.
About 70 percent of people with epilepsy are able to control their seizures through medication. For those who still have seizures or cannot handle the side effects of the medication, doctors consider brain surgery.
"We did try a number of different anti-seizure medications, but it was clear that her epilepsy was not responding," said Dr. Alan Ettinger, chief of the epilepsy center at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. "In her case, in addition to music setting off the epilepsy, even the very thought of the song started to provoke the seizures."
While pain is a sensation that few of us relish, the absence of it can be tremendously hazardous. And for a young child, the lack of ability to feel pain can be especially dangerous.
Such is the case with 8-year-old Gabby Gingras, whose parents recently learned that she had a rare condition known as hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy, or HSAN for short.