IF ketamine were an animal, it would have to be an octopus: unique, endlessly mutable, potentially dangerous, devilishly complicated to study, and seeming to extend its grasp into every corner of medicine. In the 50 years ketamine has been commercially available in the United States, practitioners and researchers have called it an analgesic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory agent, dissociative anesthetic, drug of abuse, local anesthetic, neuroprotectant, neurotoxin, psychotomimetic, and therapeutic psychedelic. This (partial!) list makes clear the challenge in trying to harness ketamine for a specific, targeted use in a clinical setting. And yet as these various properties are investigated, we have the unique opportunity to deepen our understanding of how the nervous system works and to develop therapeutics that capitalize on these insights.

In this issue of Anesthesiology, Gitlin et al. take a novel approach...

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