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Really Bizzare Dreams

  1. Jun 21, 2005 #1
    I used to have the strangest, most strange, complex dreams. I had them every night from as long as I can remember. It was fun telling my dreams to people the next day. I got strange looks and laughs because they were so strange and long. Sometimes, they even came true. O__o

    Anyway, lately my dreams have just been...GONE. Not there at all. If I do have a dream, it's very brief and meaningless...like me looking in a mirror and seeing my hair has gotten very long even tho in real life it is short. It's sad, because I used to be known as the crazy girl who told long, outlandish dream stories at the lunch table at school, but now I have nothing to report! lol. I want to get my weird dreams back. It's been a while. Does anybbody know why they stopped? :cry:

    Also, lately, I've been having some really strong de ja vous. Like I dreamed it would happen...only I didn't...i just feel like i did. the other day i had a real long one in English class...i could have sworn i dreamed that at the beginning of the year. I know this has nothing to do with the post, but does neone know why i always have de ja vous? :confused:
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2005 #2
    Hellooooo??? anybody???
     
  4. Jun 21, 2005 #3

    honestrosewater

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    How have you been feeling while awake? Normal, tired, energetic, moody, happy?
     
  5. Jun 21, 2005 #4
    I've been feeling the same as I always have...even when i still had the dreams. perky during the day, tired around 10 PM. normal. nothing different is going on in my life.
     
  6. Jun 21, 2005 #5
    Right here!

    The deja vu is an incredibly weird sensaton that the present situation you are in is unbelievably familiar, as though you are remembering it from the past even though there's no way it could already have happened.

    Neurologists have proven that it is caused by a tiny bit of seizure activity in the neurons of a part of the brain called the hippocampus. Even though this is technically seizure activity it's nothing to get worried about: all that means is that the neurons are firing all at the same time for no good reason.

    The hippocampus is a major contributor to memory. When it gets a power surge like this it creates the false impression that the present is a memory, when it isn't.

    A small seizure like this is called a simple partial seizure.

    I read a post on an epilepsy website where a guy was hooked up to electrodes for 48 hours to try and see if they could catch any seizure activity to positively diagnose him.

    They woke him up in the middle of the night and said they had just caught some. The doctor told him he was having a simple partial while he slept. He said something like "Wow, I just thought I was having a particularly intense dream."

    It could be that your dreams in the past were so bizarre and vivid because you were having simple partials while you dreampt. The fact you don't have them anymore is probably a good thing. You have probably cut something out of your diet that was throwing your brain chemistry off, possibly.

    I wouldn't worry about the deja vus unless you have so many they drive you crazy. Everyone has at least one of these at some point in their life. Some people get them alot.
     
  7. Jun 21, 2005 #6

    JamesU

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    isn't it déjà vu? :biggrin:
     
  8. Jun 21, 2005 #7


    o__O....really? no way. seizures? is that why my pillow is always on the floor when i wake up in the morning?? :wink: no..nobody in my family ever has seizures..and...i mean...i know other people who have bizzare dreams, too but they don't have the deja vous...i just think i had really weird dreams cos i have an overactive imaginations! :biggrin:
    as for the deja vous thing, i prefer to tell myself that i can see the future! hehe. thing is, i don't "remember" it until it's actually happening...too bad. =/ yes, i do get deja vous quite a lot


    anyway, is there any way to get my dreams back? it's not that im not just having the bizarre dreams anymore, im not having ANY dreams any more. Help!
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  9. Jun 21, 2005 #8

    Evo

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    Have you ever tried what is termed "directed dreaming"? This is where as you are laying in bed going to sleep, you consciously start your dream. You decide what you are going to dream about. You can start by recalling a favorite dream and building on it, when you fall asleep, you will continue to dream about it. It may take awhile to be able to do this, but it's very relaxing, even if it doesn't always work.

    I had periods where I will have great dreams and then periods like what you are going through now where I don't recall as much and they are not as great. I'm going through that right now and it's very disappointing. :frown:
     
  10. Jun 21, 2005 #9
    aaaw, but it's not as fun that way! lol. my imagination works best when I am not consciously controlling it, for some reason..

    but i'll try it.

    sounds like daydreaming to me, but ill give it a shot. hehe
     
  11. Jun 21, 2005 #10

    Moonbear

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    It's not seizures the way you think about someone twitching uncontrollably, it's just a technical term for the activity of your brain, as Zooby explained. Of course it could also just be that you are doing things in some sort of routine and it feels like Deja Vu because you really are doing the same thing or are in the same place often.

    You might still be dreaming, but just don't remember the dreams when you wake up. The only way you could find out is if someone wakes you up in the middle of your dream. It's possible that as you're getting older, your sleeping patterns are just changing so you naturally wake up in the morning before someone has to wake you up (or before an alarm clock goes off), so you aren't in the middle of the dream when you wake up, and thus don't remember it.
     
  12. Jun 21, 2005 #11

    honestrosewater

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    Maybe you just aren't waking up as often during the night. You can google to see if or why that may be the case.

    Or you can just ask Moonbear. :biggrin: Speaking of sleep... :zzz:
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  13. Jun 21, 2005 #12
    What's the difference between a seizure and a normal period of increased brain activity, if any?
     
  14. Jun 21, 2005 #13
    Like I said simple partial seizures are seizure activity limited to a very small part of the brain. Everyone as at least one before they die. Most people have alot more than that. Don't get freaked out by the word "seizure". It just refers to the hypersynchronous firing of neurons, and doesn't means full body convulsions. That's a speciic kind of seizure.

    Most seizures aren't hereditary. You family history isn't an indication of anything in particular.

    The fact they stopped makes it more likely to me they were simple partials. I bet your immagination hasn't stopped being overactive.
    They can create the illusion you are living your life over and over again, and remember what is going to happen next. I used to call these "Phantom Memories of the Future."

    We are always speculating about what is going to happen next. If you have a deja vu while you're doing this, that speculation seems so familiar that you're convinced it is a memory of the future from the last time you lived through the time loop. 95% of the time what you think is going to happen next doesn't. But if you happen to have another deja vu at the moment you realize what you thought was going to happen didn't, it fills you with the conviction "Oh yeah! This is what happens next, I remember it now!"

    You should be having some dreams, at least. This is kinda strange not to have any.

    Have you been able to sleep well every night?
     
  15. Jun 21, 2005 #14
    This would be a question for moonbear. I can explain seizure activity to a layman but I'm not sure what constitutes a "normal period of increased brain activity."

    In seizure activity you have whole groups of neurons all firing at the same frequency in synch with each other. It's a matter of the damaged neurons setting the others around them off to no purpose.
     
  16. Jun 21, 2005 #15

    honestrosewater

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    People have stopped dreaming after suffering brain damage, usually accompanied by vision problems. Suffer any brain damage recently?

    Why not test yourself some weekend? Set your alarm a half hour early. If you can't recall any dreams, set it an hour early the next night. Actually, look at some sleep cycle info and see about how long your cycles should be around the time you wake up. Set your alarm accordingly (you'll want to wake up during REM).
     
  17. Jun 21, 2005 #16

    Moonbear

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    Normal brain activity is orderly. With a seizure, the activity is disordered (the neurons don't fire in their proper order, although there is a focal point and activity can radiate out from that, it's not the order the neurons are supposed to fire).

    The concept of synchrony of the bursts of activity of the individual neurons isn't necessarily true. This study (abstract quoted below) indicates the increased bursting is not synchronized firing. (Seizures are way outside of my field of expertise, so I'm being cautious in generalizing too much from this one study since I don't know if there is any contradictory evidence in the literature, and I'm not spending a lot of time looking for it.)

    Van Drongelen W, Koch H, Marcuccilli C, Pena F, Ramirez JM. 2003 Synchrony levels during evoked seizure-like bursts in mouse neocortical slices. J Neurophysiol. 90:1571-80.

     
  18. Jun 21, 2005 #17

    Moonbear

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    You suggest asking me and then you fall asleep? :grumpy:

    It could be part of it. I think I cited a study around these forums somewhere that indicated some people really just don't dream. They woke them up during the night, I believe during REM sleep, and there was still no recall of any dreams. But, most people just forget they had a dream when they wake up. So, it could be the case that if you wake up more frequently at night, you could remember more of those dreams, or if you are woken up before you're done dreaming in the morning, you'll remember them.

    I almost never remember dreaming unless I dream during that time I'm dozing back off to sleep after hitting the snooze button. Though, when I do remember the dreams, they are definitely weird. So, I'm pretty sure I dream, but I very rarely remember the dreams. I think this is fairly common.
     
  19. Jun 21, 2005 #18
    --obvious questions: How do they determine that asynchronicity is "noise" given that they don't understand how the mouse brain works? And how do you know that what researchers are calling seizure activity during deja vu exhibits the same characteristics as the SLA that the researchers saw in the mouse brains?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  20. Jun 22, 2005 #19
    gah, i havent had any good dreams recently. i go to sleep thinking about math problems and work them over and over in my head all night, but of course i dont get anywhere, i dont really work them, my mind just stays focused on the numbers and i wake up really annoyed.
     
  21. Jun 22, 2005 #20

    Evo

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    I'm a light sleeper and wake up frequently during the night and recall tons of dreams, so I would agree. My friend sleeps like a log and swears he rarely dreams.
     
  22. Jun 22, 2005 #21
    All of the recent studies by reputable researchers I've read, or read quoted, are calling it "hypersynchronous firing". I was specifically taken to task on an epilepsy website for perveying the old "disorderly firing" explanation first proposed by J. Hughlings Jackson in the 1800s, a couple years ago.

    The mouse brain study you quoted tells us how a slice of one part (somatosensory cortex) of one individual dead mouse's brain reacted to one specific chemical seizure inducing agent in a petri dish. This is no reason to even think about overturning the hypersynchronous firing findings.

    It could simply be that mouse brain(specifically) + that specific chemical = disorderly firing.

    Human neurologists aren't quick to adopt mouse research into human situations anyway. Although "kindling" has been proven over and over in mice, there are still human neurologists who speak of it as theoretical when it comes to people brains.
     
  23. Jun 22, 2005 #22

    Moonbear

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    I can't get to the publisher's site now to read the full article (I should have access, but their site just isn't loading), so I'll give a tentative answer based on what I know of electrophysiology and what the abstract said and will have to reserve the right to correct that later once I can read the full article.

    They aren't saying the noise is evidence of asynchronicity. They are using the information from single-cell recordings to determine what is likely signal (a small spike on the recording corresponding to a single cell firing), and what is noise (a spike smaller than the recording from a single cell firing). So, what they should then be doing is subtracting out the noise to make sure they aren't mistakenly calling the noise neuronal activity. When you do multiunit recording, if several cells fire all at once, you get a larger spike in the recording than if fewer or just one cell fires at a time. So, asynchronicity of firing should be detected by variable spike sizes. I don't know if there was a regular frequency though. There are two ways you could potentially interpret variable spike sizes, and you'd need to analyze the pattern. There could be several groups of cells each firing in synchrony, but not with other groups, which should give somewhat of a regular pattern to the trace as each group took its turn (I hope that's making some sense), or every cell could be doing its own thing, in which case you wouldn't expect to find any pattern at all.

    As for whether the seizure-like activity is truly representative of a simple partial seizure, I don't know that. I was just trying to address the general question of what a seizure is and to present some evidence indicating that it's not necessarily synchronized activity (that's the question I thought zooby was addressing with that remark). Since there are different types of seizures, some may be characterized by more synchronized activity...that's why I pointed out this is far afield of my expertise.

    Also, I don't know that this is the explanation for the deja vu experiences either. There could be a far more mundane explanation of that. It's really only speculating we're doing here.

    I'm realizing I also may have misunderstood your original question. I'm now not sure if you were asking the difference between seizures and normal brain activity, or if you were asking if seizures are increased activity of neurons. They are increased activity, but different from normal in its pattern of progression (doesn't require a neuronal network of synaptic connections, but could be just a response to something in the extracellular fluid, such as the NMDA used in the article I cited).

    I probably shouldn't make this response too long until I can get that full article to confirm what I'm saying.
     
  24. Jun 22, 2005 #23

    Moonbear

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    Hence my caveat. Though, it wasn't just one individual mouse. That's quite a gross oversimplification of what they were showing. You can't do the sort of recording they were doing in live animals or whole brain.

    Well, that's another issue altogether. I too am cautious about drawing too many conclusions from studies in mice (it's one of the reasons I don't use rodents in my own research, because despite the immense bias of NIH toward rodents and against other animal models when it comes to funding the studies, rodents are just a lousy model for what I study), but to just dismiss something because it was done in mice is no better.
     
  25. Jun 22, 2005 #24
    I can't answer this question, however, I can tell you how they proved the deja vu was seizure activity.

    The study was a spinoff of the fact that when preparing a person for brain surgery for severe epilepsy they sometimed would have them come into the hospital for weeks ahead of time to try and determine the exact location of the seizure focus which was to be removed.

    They way they went about determning the focus was to actually drill several small holes in the scull and insert hair-thin electrodes into the brain. These were sensitive to electrical activity only at certain equally spaced points along the electrode. That was so they could determine depth.

    It is already well known how to determine the general area that is seizing just from certain symptoms. Several electrodes in, say, the temporal lobe should, therefore, allow them to find a much more specific point in the temporal lobe where the trouble originates.

    During these pre-operative studies several of the patients EEG recordings started to go show clear seizure activity in and around the hippocampus. When asked what they were experiencing, they reported Deja Vu symptoms: the strange feeling that they had lived through all this before and could sense what was going to happen next.

    It is not at all uncommon for people with severe seizures to also experience simple partial seizures. These deja vus were not new to these patients, but they weren't the seizures they were being operated on for. The hippocampus is very deep in the brain, and deja vus don't show up on surface EEGs. Alot of simple partial seizures are too small to register on surface electrodes. These depth studies have confirmed alot of simple partial symptoms are seizure activity, symptoms that were only previously suspected.


    I wish I could show you what the EEG of a deja vu looks like, but don't have a scanner. The electrical activity jumps to, by my estimate, ten times the amplitude of the normal amplitude. It is no wonder to me these illusions are so convincing; they're supercharged.

    Whenever I have a deja vu I am perfectly convinced, while it is happening, that I have lived the moment before. It is too real and powerful, while it's happening, to even question it. It's ony after it's over that I can say to myself it had to have been an illusion. Seeing that EEG of a deja vu explained to me why that is the case.
     
  26. Jun 22, 2005 #25
    All I read was the abstract you quoted. I saw "mouse brain" not "mice brains". Not an oversimplification on my part, rather a misreading of a generic term to be an individual term.
    True, which is another reason not to jump to too many conclusions. I have to wonder what difference, if any, these circumstances have on how the neurons behave. Does the fact they've been separated from all communication with their usual ciruits make any difference?
    I don't think anyone dismisses it out of hand. It's just that you have to avoid the mistake of assuming that what happens in mice will happen in any other animal or in humans.

    No one is allowed to experiment with kindling on people, so it's a theory that will never be tested, yet most epileptologists believe it to be fact based on the way some people's seizures get more frequent and more extensive if untreated.
     
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