Normal body scheme and absent phantom limb experience in amputees while dreaming

Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1831-1834 (2011)
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Abstract

While dreaming amputees often experience a normal body image and the phantom limb may not be present. However, dreaming experiences in amputees have mainly been collected by questionnaires. We analysed the dream reports of amputated patients with phantom limb collected after awakening from REM sleep during overnight videopolysomnography . Six amputated patients underwent overnight VPSG study. Patients were awakened during REM sleep and asked to report their dreams. Three patients were able to deliver an account of a dream. In all dreaming recalls, patients reported that the amputated limbs were intact and completely functional and they no longer experienced phantom limb sensations. Phantom limb experiences, that during wake result from a conflict between a pre-existing body scheme and the sensory information on the missing limb, were suppressed during sleep in our patients in favour of the image of an intact body accessed during dream

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