Limb amputation is followed, in approximately 90% of the patients, by “phantom limb” sensations during wakefulness. When amputated patients dream, however, the phantom limb may be present all the time, part of the time, intermittently or not at all. The absence of the phantom limb when dreaming has been taken as evidence for a pre-existing kinesthetic body scheme, unaffected by the amputation, that is accessible to the patient when asleep. Such dreaming experiences in amputees usually have been obtained only retrospectively in the morning, and moreover, dreaming is normally associated with muscular atonia, so the motor counterpart of the phantom limb experience cannot be observed directly. REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), in which muscle atonia is absent during REM sleep and patients act out their dreams, allows a more direct analysis of the “phantom limb” phenomena, and their modifications during sleep.
- Rem Sleep Behaviour Disorder
- phantom limb
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