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Shocking the brain with electricity can prompt people to remember old dreams

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It’s a weird observation that people with epilepsy can occasionally remember old dreams during seizures. Scientists at France’s Toulouse University Hospital have now discovered that this same effect can be recreated by stimulating a particular part of the brain using electricity.

“Sudden and unexpected reminiscences of memories have been described after some direct electrical brain stimulations in epileptic patients since neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield’s [pioneering work] between the 1930s and 60s,” Jonathan Curot, a PhD student studying neuroscience at Toulouse University Hospital, told Digital Trends.

Over the past several decades, Curot said that different types of electrical brain stimulations, such as deep intracranial stimulation or electrocorticography, have sometimes been shown to recreate this effect in epileptic patients. However, because there was no way to reproduce these in a deterministic manner, very little has been known about the phenomenon — which is referred to as déjà-rêvé.

A bit like déjà-vu’s lesser-seen brother, déjà-rêvé involves recalling an experience which a person had while they were sleeping. This difference is summarized in their names: while déjà vu is French for “already seen,” déjà rêvé means “already dreamed.” The researchers in this new study found that this effect can be consistently recreated by stimulating the temporal lobe, a part of the brain associated with long-term memory, dreaming, and forming memories during sleep.

“We have demonstrated [this effect] in six epileptic patients,” Curot continued. “We have trapped EEG signals during déjà-rêvé and we were able to record patients during it and interview them just after these phenomena.”

According to Curot, the discovery is interesting because being able to explore the sudden unexpected reminiscences of dreams without environmental cues can help us better understand the brain. It could also have potential therapeutic application when treating people with neurological diseases involving memory disorders.

“We are [now] studying neuronal activity changes after electrical brain stimulations,” he said. “We use new intracranial microelectrodes to explore the effect of electrical stimulation to better understand how they modulate neuronal activity.”

A paper describing the work, titled “Déjà-rêvé: Prior dreams induced by direct electrical brain stimulation,” was recently published in the journal Brain Stimulation.

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Health & Lifestyle

Sports head injuries Balanced reportage is required – Experts

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A group of more than 60 leading international neuroscientists, including Mark Herceg, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Northwell Health’s Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and a member of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, published a correspondence today in The Lancet Neurology, asking for balance when reporting on sports-related injury chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a type of dementia associated with exposure to repeated concussions, and has been linked with a variety of contact sports such as boxing, football, American football and rugby.



Although CTE is commonly featured in the news media and discussed among peers, the medical community is just beginning to understand how to recognize the disease, guidelines for how to assess its severity have yet to be established.

“We don’t currently have a clear understanding of the link between CTE pathology and any specific symptoms,” noted Dr. Herceg. “It’s important to note to the public at large that CTE is at an early stage of scientific and medical understanding, with many important aspects of the disease yet to be established.”

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“Dr. Herceg and his colleague’s CTE research is timely and impactful as a major step forward to more clearly defining the risk and prevalence of this important syndrome,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.

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-Northwell Health

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Mother bags 4 years jail term for drawing son’s blood.

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A Danish court on Thursday sentenced a mother to four years in jail for aggravated abuse for having unnecessarily drawn a half-litre (one pint) of blood from her son weekly for five years.

A trained nurse, the 36-year-old woman began drawing her son’s blood when he was 11 months old, averaging about once a week for the next five years.

The mother said she would not appeal the verdict handed down by the district court in the western town of Herning.



“It’s not a decision that I took consciously. I don’t know when I started doing what I had no right to do. It came gradually. I threw the blood down the toilet and put the syringes in the garbage,” she told the court.

The boy, today aged seven and who lives with his father, suffered an intestinal illness shortly after birth but as the years went by doctors could not explain why he had so little blood in his system.

To remedy the situation, doctors gave him 110 blood transfusions over the years.

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They eventually grew suspicious of the mother, and police began investigating her.

She was arrested in September 2017 carrying a bag of blood.

On social media, she had presented herself as a single mother fighting for her sick son.

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Psychiatric experts told the court they believed the mother suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare condition in which a person, usually a mother, fabricates an illness for a dependent and puts them through unnecessary medical treatment.

However, they deemed her healthy enough to go to prison.

She has been barred from the nursing profession.

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