Hey, you all remember a while back, there was that cheerleader that got the seasonal flu vaccine, and then all hell broke loose?

Turns out, wasnt dystonia, it was psychogenic. And apparently, shes fine now:

Minor problem: Steve Novella, while he is a great advocate for rational, science-based medicine, totally missed the mark with that interview with Inside Edition. It really highlights, for me, the differences in depth of knowledge between MDs and PhDs.

Because he doesnt really understood the virology/immunology behind the seasonal flu vaccine, he says this:

Inside Edition Guy: You might have noticed shes speaking in a foreign accent.
Novella: There is no way a flu shot could cause someones accent to change.



Desiree Jennings now talks in an Australian accent because the three influenza variants in the 2009-2010 seasonal flu vaccine WERE ALL AUSTRALIAN!

Logically, the viruses remembered their environment in Australia, and this memory was homeopathically enhanced by the toxins in vaccines, thus Desiree Jennings now talks in an Australian accent.


Steve really should leave these things to the experts.

** Shortly after I moved to OK, one of our research collaborators suddenly succumbed to previously undetected brain cancer. He was in a coma for months, but amazingly, he got better, and he is still a collaborator today. However this incident has left me with ongoing (irrational) anxiety about my boss dying suddenly (Im sure when I become a PI Im going to be worried about dying on my grad students/post docs). So when the first thing I read this morning is that the grad students of three professors (maybe two more, and then theres the shooter…) are dealing with this tragedy… Ive been pretty upset all day. Thanks to Skepchicks for cheering me up a bit.


  1. #1 John S. Wilkins
    February 13, 2010

    In fact, Australians engineered the flu virus to turn you all into Antipodeans. Repeat after me: Gerdoy mite. Airyergowen?

    [Seriously. Come here and talk like Americans think the Australian accent goes (most recent example on 30Rock) and we’ll knock your block off.]

  2. #2 SVN
    February 13, 2010

    Dr. W is very healthy, is he not? I’m sorry but I lol’d a bit.

  3. #3 feralboy12
    February 13, 2010

    We must stop this scourge. Imagine if all our cheerleaders developed Australian accents! No one would take them seriously.

  4. #4 Dr. Matthew
    February 13, 2010

    It’s interesting…. a number of my friends in grad school had the same first response with some of their first responses after the horror of the shooting being that this is a nightmare for the students involved, the junior faculty, etc. I hope their department recovers.

  5. #5 ChrisF
    February 13, 2010

    Doesn’t sound at all like an Australian accent to me (an Australian)

  6. #6 Optimus Primate
    February 13, 2010

    Dammit, if only she were blonde I could have scored big with a good “On the Barbie” joke here. /sigh

  7. #7 Elbowgrease
    February 13, 2010

    strewth mate, is this sheila fair dinkum? Bugger me if this drongo isnt a cuppla snags short of a barbie.

  8. #8 eddie
    February 13, 2010

    I had seasonal flu shot and it turned me into a frog!
    I got better.

    Also, re ChrisF 5;
    It sounds to me like that Lara Croft fake strine accent. But she doesn’t have the… lungs for it.

  9. #9 Jackrabbit
    February 13, 2010

    Ugh. I just want to smack this bitch. Honey, there are better ways to pitch a reality show.

    P.S. You are the worst actress ever. Your “dystonia” performance made me laugh out loud. Conversion? More like perversion.

  10. #10 Bueller_007
    February 13, 2010

    This is such obvious bullshit.

  11. #11 leonids11
    February 14, 2010

    It took four months for Inside Edition to put together a story question Jennings’s bogus claims? Meanwhile, people continue to die from the swine flu.

    Inside Edition producers and reporters have blood on their sensationalist hands. It’s one thing for adults to be stupid enough to let Jennings make a life and death decision for them, but it’s another matter altogether when ignoramuses inspired by Jennings refuse to vaccinate their children.

  12. #12 Oded
    February 14, 2010

    I’d hate to shout “conspiracy”, but anyone found it odd, that in the first video, the video was EXACTLY cut on the “shouldn’t” into a “should” discourage people from vaccine?

  13. #13 Teddydeedodu
    February 14, 2010

    Da dingo tuk yar bayyybeeeee.

  14. #14 Joel
    February 14, 2010

    As an Australian, I can honestly say that she’s the first person I’ve ever heard to speak with an accent like that.

    Leonard Nimoy was much more convincing:

  15. #15 Militant Agnostic
    February 14, 2010

    You owe me a keyboard Abbie

    Thanks for a much needed LOL.

  16. #16 TotallyUncool
    February 14, 2010

    Wait a minute — since it’s all swine flu, shouldn’t it make people say “oink”?
    (Or do they just go weeweewee all the way home?)

  17. #17 Andy
    February 14, 2010

    #12, You are almost certainly right about your observation re: “shouldn’t” -> “should”. Check out the video author’s YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/DisabledActivists. The author looks pretty biased to me. What’s a little video editing going to harm, if in the end it scares people and proves your point? Bleh.

    Ironically, the witch doctor in the second video actually provides a bit of a service, as he allows psychogenic patients to be “cured” with placebos.

    Not that I’m advocating any of this, mind you. Scaring/hoaxing people about flu shots and using homeopathy on cancer patients is contemptible.

  18. #18 momkat
    February 14, 2010

    Interesting how her accent fades in and out as well. There are cases where brain-damaged people develop accents foreign to them, but this woman can’t even keep up a good act.

  19. #19 Sili
    February 14, 2010

    Strange. She wasn’t speaking with a fake accent before she visited the woo-woo ‘doctor’. I think the only logical explanation is the chelation therapy and hyperbaric chamber fried a few a neurons and frazzled her vocal chords.

  20. #20 The Chimp's Raging Id
    February 14, 2010

    Regarding the shooter, it seems this is not the first time she has killed:

    Ms Bishop shot her brother Seth, 18, a violinist and prize-winning science student, with a shotgun during an argument, he said. She was arrested at gunpoint after allegedly pointing the gun at a car to try to force the driver to stop.

    Holy fuck.

  21. #21 antipodean
    February 15, 2010

    “Desiree Jennings now talks in an Australian accent because the three influenza variants in the 2009-2010 seasonal flu vaccine WERE ALL AUSTRALIAN!”

    We have in fact done this in a highly elaborate scheme to TAKE OVER THE WORLD by planting a virus in a few highly selected cases that were designed to spread with maximum virulence. Unfortunately we got drunk and fucked it all up and none of know who that chick is anyway.

    Plus that’s not even remotely an Australian accent. Coupled with her dystonia ‘acting skills’ she couldn’t get a job re-enacting John Cleese’s ministry of silly walks sketch in a highschool talent show.


  22. #22 Doazic
    February 15, 2010

    Are we allowed to laugh?

  23. #23 Kemanorel
    February 15, 2010

    (Or do they just go weeweewee all the way home?)

    They pee themselves?

  24. #24 theslat
    February 15, 2010

    so what you are saying is I should get as many flu shots as possible so I can have a exotic accent to woo my girlfriend with? hahah

    (though from the comments I am going to have to hope i “catch” a better sounding accent! haha.)

  25. #25 William Wallace
    February 16, 2010

    LOL, her doctors didn’t figure this out from day one? So much for science.

  26. #26 anon
    February 16, 2010


    Medical doctors are not scientists.

    Despite this the neurologists all laughed at the video.

    It’s the news media and a couple of quacks who pulled this shitstorm. Little to do with mainstream medicine (they do routinely have to deal with malingering) and nothing to do with science.

  27. #27 Sinead
    September 11, 2010

    Hello from Canada. Clueless about whether this lady’s putting anything on or not (tons of people do), but I have Foreign Accent Syndrome. Mine was activated by benzodiazepine drug withdrawal (probably epileptic attacks during),possibly be triggered by previous traumatic injury to brain (there is a case w/ head injury, where visit to chiro 10yrs later triggered FAS. I already speak fluent Fr & Ger, mother from Oxford UK, Father from Sydney Australia, but fluent in German, family emigrated from there. I had agrammatism (speaking like telegram-sounding a bit like Greta Garbo, I thought,lol) in the initial phase, on/off for 6-7 months, then settled into this lovely Eastern European? German? Russian? Distortion of vowels & sounds, only the perceivers’ brains interpret it as an “accent” to make sense of things. Yes, it even changes in type and intensity/accentuation somewhat. This since May ’05.I get away with it, usually telling people it’s my languages! (Fr from France, Hochdeutsch, perfect accents). Like others who find themselves with this, you find a way to make it “plausible”. This depends on your imagination, unconscious and lots of other factors! It is not put on! I wasn’t bad at acting when younger, but no good at accents. In this lady’s case, I don’t have a clue,I’m not a neurologist! FAS can be caused by migraines, injury, epileptic attacks, parkinsons, but more usually stroke & cerebral haemorrage;in an odd way, it has given me a new identity and way of expressing myself. You try to incorporate into your life. What else are you going to do?

  28. #28 Ahahaha
    December 24, 2011

    Weird, I got a flu shot and it turned me into Alexandra Wallace (see also: YouTube – chingchonglinglongtingtong)

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