Several news organizations are publishing reports about a forthcoming paper in the Annals of Neurology concerning a case study about the loss of dreaming as a consequence of a stroke.
One of the authors of the report, Dr. Claudio L. Bassetti, is quoted in these published reports as stating, "How dreams are generated, and what purpose they might serve, are completely open questions at this point. These results describe for the first time in detail the extent of lesion necessary to produce loss of dreaming in the absence of other neurological deficits. As such, they offer a target for further study of the localization of dreaming."
Here is the abstract from Annals of Neurology:
M. Bischof & C.L. Bassetti. Total dream loss: A distinct neuropsychological dysfunction after bilateral PCA stroke.
Correspondence to Claudio L. Bassetti, Neurologische Poliklinik, Universitatsspital, Frauenklinikstrasse 26, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland
The term Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome (CWS) denotes dream loss following focal brain damage. We report the first case of CWS, in whom neuropsychological functions, extension of the underlying lesion, and sleep architecture changes were assessed. A 73-year-old woman reported a total dream loss after acute, bilateral occipital artery infarction (including the right inferior lingual gyrus), which lasted for over 3 months. In the absence of sleep-wake complaints and (other) neuropsychological deficits, polysomnography demonstrated an essentially normal sleep architecture with preservation of REM sleep. Dreaming was denied also after repeated awakenings from REM sleep. This observation suggests that CWS (1) can represent a distinct and isolated neuropsychological manifestation of deep occipital lobe damage, and (2) may occur in the absence of detectable REM sleep abnormalities.