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Still Waters

Croatian teenager wakes from coma speaking

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Still Waters
The girl, from the southern town of Knin, had only just started studying German at school and had been reading German books and watching German TV to become better, but was by no means fluent, according to her parents.

Since waking up from her 24 hourcoma however, she has been unable to speak Croatian, but is able to communicate perfectly in German.

Doctors at Split's KB Hospital claim that the case is so unusual, various experts have examined the girl as they try to find out what triggered the change.

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Helen of Annoy

They tried to explain it with the fact that she started learning German, which is kind of plausible.

There were similar cases with no plausible explanation at all, like that woman who switched dialects after car accident. She could not speak kajkavski anymore, only dalmatinski ikavski which is so different natural speakers of those two dialects can hardly understand each other. She still didn't switch back and looks like she won't.

It will be fun if Croatian doesnt switch back on in this girl's brain, because its quite impossible to learn it.

Edited by Helen of Annoy

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Mandrake

If true this would be astonishing. This needs much more study and better reporting of the facts before I'll get too excited.

I must admit a bit of scepticism. She started learning German then awoke fully literate in the language "according to her parents". Big coincidence there don't you think? Can anyone else independent verity her ability pre-coma? Of all the thousands of languages she 'suddenly' becomes proficient in the very one that she's studying... hmmm :unsure2:

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Alienated Being

Strange, but fascinating phenomenon!

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supervike

Strange, but fascinating phenomenon!

It really is.

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kobolds

watch too much fringe

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Dodir_Svile

i live in croatia, so i've been kind of following the case from when it happened. it seemed that the girl ended in coma due to blood poisoning and when she awoke, she understood what the parents and the doctors were saying in croatian, but relied only in german. after a few days, she started speaking croatian again.

and i think i've also read that there's a whole team of psychiatrists, neurologists and other doctors examining her.

what i think happened (and what some neurologists were suggesting) is that she learned much more of german prior to her coma (via school, tv...) but that knowledge wasn't in her conscience mind. there's really a huge load of stuff about the human brain that we still don't understand and i guess cases like this could shine some light on it. :)

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Grimmace

i live in croatia, so i've been kind of following the case from when it happened. it seemed that the girl ended in coma due to blood poisoning and when she awoke, she understood what the parents and the doctors were saying in croatian, but relied only in german. after a few days, she started speaking croatian again.

and i think i've also read that there's a whole team of psychiatrists, neurologists and other doctors examining her.

what i think happened (and what some neurologists were suggesting) is that she learned much more of german prior to her coma (via school, tv...) but that knowledge wasn't in her conscience mind. there's really a huge load of stuff about the human brain that we still don't understand and i guess cases like this could shine some light on it. :)

Thank you, Dodir_Svile. That does put the story in a more reasonable perspective.

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RamboIII

If true this would be astonishing. This needs much more study and better reporting of the facts before I'll get too excited.

I must admit a bit of scepticism. She started learning German then awoke fully literate in the language "according to her parents". Big coincidence there don't you think? Can anyone else independent verity her ability pre-coma? Of all the thousands of languages she 'suddenly' becomes proficient in the very one that she's studying... hmmm :unsure2:

.... well it ONLY makes even a little sense if its a language she was learning. How on earth is it less strange if she woke up speaking a random language?

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Watchers

My theory on this whole deal is this:

We know that REM plays a huge role in converting our memories into coherent, learned facts that are understood and stick with us in our long term memory. Perhaps the coma that she was in had her stuck in some stage of REM sleep. So whereas the normal human only gets a sporadic 90 minutes of REM sleep each night...this girl could have received 24 straight hours of uninterrupted REM sleep. Perhaps this is the key to how she was able to process 100% of everything she learned in German. If we could figure out how to induce (safely) comas such as these, then think about the amount of knowledge we'd be able to pass around--you'd be able to learn any language you wanted to overnight. You'd be able to perhaps learn how to pilot a helicopter with two or three sessions of this.

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Drj312

watch too much fringe

i thought of that too.

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Codehook

My theory on this whole deal is this:

We know that REM plays a huge role in converting our memories into coherent, learned facts that are understood and stick with us in our long term memory. Perhaps the coma that she was in had her stuck in some stage of REM sleep. So whereas the normal human only gets a sporadic 90 minutes of REM sleep each night...this girl could have received 24 straight hours of uninterrupted REM sleep. Perhaps this is the key to how she was able to process 100% of everything she learned in German. If we could figure out how to induce (safely) comas such as these, then think about the amount of knowledge we'd be able to pass around--you'd be able to learn any language you wanted to overnight. You'd be able to perhaps learn how to pilot a helicopter with two or three sessions of this.

An imaginitive theory but unfortunately is highly unlikely to be true :P

A coma and sleep are two very different things, coma patients do not go through a sleep-wake cycle of any sort and don't experience REM as far as I know. The person is essentially unconscious, not having a nice sleep and dreaming of pretty things.

Also, we don't know that REM "plays a huge role in converting our memories into coherent, learned facts" but it is a theory, and probably the most believed. There are plenty of other theories too, such as the idea that the brain converts the random firing of neurons during sleep into what we know as 'dreams' in order to present us with something understandable and tangent. There is evidence that people do well with tests after sleeping on a problem, but that doesn't necessarily mean that REM sleep is responsible for it. It could just be down to giving your brain a rest.

Unfortunately with these cases you never get scientifically controlled studies, because of course you never know when and where they might happen. You can never know for sure what the person may or may not have known before their accident, so you can't even prove that the individual and their family aren't even lying, let alone prove that it's some sort of miracle or something that couldn't possibly be explained.

I think the most likely scenario is what was said in a previous post...that she had unconsciously learnt the language by watching German TV and the such like, but was not previously able to consciously access that knowledge. After all, after living in a country for a while most people are able to 'pick up' the language even if they haven't been formally taught it. It fits into the same category as educated guesses, all part of accessing unconscious memories. That's my belief anyway, but we can't know anything without proper scientific studies of this sort of thing (which will probably never happen).

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lookingfortruth

see what changed and replicate it :)

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Cristina1

get her to German language specialist and determine with what German accents she speaks (geographically), would be interesting to know :)

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Codehook

get her to German language specialist and determine with what German accents she speaks (geographically), would be interesting to know :)

Would be interesting considering how she probably picked the language up, but I would hazard a pretty safe guess at German with a Croatian accent.

My sister speaks French with a German accent :lol:

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Flinderschnab

this story reminds me of that movie 'the exorcism of Emily Rose' and that girl it was based of, Annalise Michel, who when she was 'possessed' could speak dialogues she had never encountered.

i wonder how she managed to pick up her dialogues :S ..

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Sthenno

That's not the first time something like this has happened... http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2007/09/czech-teenager-.html

It's worth noting that the boy here had also just started learning English. I suspect the brain has already absorbed the knowledge and it processing it somehow.

There are however even more improbably stories, like that of Irina Lakoba, which exhibit similar phenomena:

http://english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/15151_reincarnation.html

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