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Brain Res Bull. 2004 Jun 30;63(5):407-13.

Dream experience during REM and NREM sleep of patients with complex partial seizures.

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Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Viale Berti-Pichat 5, Bologna 40127, Italy.


This study examined the effectiveness of the cognitive processes underlying dreaming in patients with complex partial seizures (CPS), by assessing the frequency of recall and the structural organization of dreams reported after awakenings provoked alternately during REM and stage 2 NREM sleep on 12 cognitively unimpaired CPS-patients (six with epileptic focus in the right hemisphere and six in the left one). Each patient was recorded for three consecutive nights, respectively, for adaptation to the sleep laboratory context, for polysomnography and for dream collection. The frequency of dream recall was lower after stage 2 NREM sleep than REM sleep, regardless of the side of epileptic focus, while the length and structural organization of dreams did not significantly differ in REM and NREM sleep. However, the length of story-like dreams was influenced by global cognitive functioning during REM sleep. These findings indicate that in CPSs-patients the elaboration of dream experience is maintained in both REM and NREM sleep, while the access to information for conversion into dream contents and the consolidation of dream contents is much less effective during NREM rather than during REM sleep. Further studies may distinguish between these two possibilities and enlighten us as to whether the impaired memory functioning during NREM sleep is a side effect of anticonvulsant treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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