Correspondence  |   December 2017
Anesthesia, Consciousness, and Language
Author Notes
  • University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. c.webster@auckland.ac.nz
  • This letter was sent to the author of the editorial view referenced above (Mashour), who declined to respond. —Evan D. Kharasch, M.D., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief
    This letter was sent to the author of the editorial view referenced above (Mashour), who declined to respond. —Evan D. Kharasch, M.D., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief×
  • (Accepted for publication September 18, 2017.)
    (Accepted for publication September 18, 2017.)×
  • This letter was sent to the author of the original article referenced above (Hashmi). The authors declined to reply, explaining that the subject matter referenced is beyond the scope of their expertise. —Evan D. Kharasch, M.D., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief
    This letter was sent to the author of the original article referenced above (Hashmi). The authors declined to reply, explaining that the subject matter referenced is beyond the scope of their expertise. —Evan D. Kharasch, M.D., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief×
Article Information
Correspondence
Correspondence   |   December 2017
Anesthesia, Consciousness, and Language
Anesthesiology 12 2017, Vol.127, 1042-1043. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000001930
Anesthesiology 12 2017, Vol.127, 1042-1043. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000001930
I was fascinated to read the recent paper and editorial concerning anesthesia and consciousness, and I wondered whether we might learn more about the effects of anesthesia if we consider one of the brain’s most impressive faculties—that of human language.1,2  There have been a number of reports of patients fixating on a second language while under the effects of anesthesia, either during sedation or sometimes for hours postoperatively.3–8  In all cases, the switching of the production of speech to exclusively the patient’s second language appears to be a direct and involuntary effect of anesthesia, one that spontaneously resolves without sequelae once recovery is complete. Patients often report not being able to remember speaking in their second language after the fixation event, and more intriguingly, even deny an ability to speak their second language at all (when not having spoken it voluntarily for many years).
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