Sleep and dream suppression following a lateral medullary infarct: A first-person account

Consciousness and Cognition 11 (3):377-390 (2002)
Abstract
Consciousness can be studied only if subjective experience is documented and quantified, yet first-person accounts of the effects of brain injury on conscious experience are as rare as they are potentially useful. This report documents the alterations in waking, sleeping, and dreaming caused by a lateral medullary infarct. Total insomnia and the initial suppression of dreaming was followed by the gradual recovery of both functions. A visual hallucinosis during waking that was associated with the initial period of sleep and dream suppression is described in detail. Since the changes in sleep and their recovery are comparable to results of animal experiments, it can be concluded that damage to the medullary brain stem causes extreme but short-lived alterations in conscious state and that substantial recovery occurs even though the damage to the brain stem endures
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