Walking dreams in congenital and acquired paraplegia

Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1425-1432 (2011)
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Abstract

To test if dreams contain remote or never-experienced motor skills, we collected during 6 weeks dream reports from 15 paraplegics and 15 healthy subjects. In 9/10 subjects with spinal cord injury and in 5/5 with congenital paraplegia, voluntary leg movements were reported during dream, including feelings of walking , running , dancing , standing up , bicycling , and practicing sports . Paraplegia patients experienced walking dreams just as often as controls . There was no correlation between the frequency of walking dreams and the duration of paraplegia. In contrast, patients were rarely paraplegic in dreams. Subjects who had never walked or stopped walking 4–64 years prior to this study still experience walking in their dreams, suggesting that a cerebral walking program, either genetic or more probably developed via mirror neurons is reactivated during sleep

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