View Full Version : Violent dreams may predict illness in advance

Admin Khan
08-07-2010, 01:40 AM
Vivid, violent dreams can portend brain disorders by half a century, a new study finds. The result, reported in the Aug. 10 Neurology, highlights how some neurological diseases may take hold decades before a person is diagnosed. Spotting early warning signs of the disease may allow clinicians to monitor and treat patients long before the brain deteriorates.

People with a mysterious sleep disturbance called REM sleep behavior disorder, or RBD, experience a sudden change in the nature of dreams. Dreams increasingly become more violent and frequently involve episodes in which an attacker must be fought off. The normal muscle paralysis that accompanies dreams is gone, leaving the dreamer, who is most often male, to act out the dream’s punches, twists and yells. In many cases, a person sharing the dreamer’s bed can be injured.

Doctors used to think of RBD as an isolated disorder. But follow-up studies revealed that a striking number of these patients later develop neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. The exact figures vary, but some studies find that anywhere from 80 to 100 percent eventually get a neurodegenerative disorder.

“The consensus among all RBD researchers is that it’s not a matter of if, but when,” says sleep expert Carlos Schenck of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis, who was one of the first researchers to describe RBD. “Basically, the longer you follow these men, the more they will convert to a neurodegenerative disorder.”

In the new study, neurologist Bradley Boeve of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and his colleagues wanted to know just how long the interval between RBD and a neurodegenerative disorder can be. “Everybody who sees patients with this knew it could go on for a long time,” Boeve says, but nobody knew just how long.

Boeve and his team examined medical records of patients from the Mayo Clinic to identify people diagnosed first with RBD and then with a neurodegenerative disorder at least 15 years later.

Of the 27 patients who fit the criteria (of which only three were women, reflecting the curious male predominance of RBD), the median interval between onset of the sleep disorder and of the neurological disorder was 25 years, the team found. For six of these patients, Boeve says, the sleep disorder was first noticed by their spouse on their honeymoon or shortly afterward. In one case, RBD preceded Parkinson’s disease by 50 years.

The researchers can’t estimate how frequently this happens in the general population, because patients were selected to have a minimum interval of 15 years between the onset of RBD and diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease. But finding such long intervals between diseases was unexpected.

“In the neurodegenerative realm, we just don’t know any other clinical manifestations that can start so far in advance,” Boeve says. “There are so few other illnesses that can have a window of decades from one clinical manifestation to another.”

The 50-year interval uncovered in the study is an “extraordinarily long and slow lag period,” Schenck says. “That’s the big news.”

Such a long interval brings the hope that once a “mysterious and magical neuroprotective agent is identified,” Schenck says, it could be used before the brain is damaged severely. Some researchers think that by the time dementia symptoms appear, it is already too late to undo the damage.

Hi, I am the source. (

Master Khan
08-07-2010, 10:05 AM
oh no..I have Violent dreams sometimes??

08-07-2010, 10:31 AM
i think that this study was deterministic to an extent, claiming that if one has seen a violent dream then they are likely to get an illness. in the end of the day the research only used a small sample, and the sample was selected, which makes the research biased, i don't think it can be generalised to the whole population. it may show something but not necesarily what it is claiming. Theres no real cause and effect relationship. But thanks for sharing the article.

08-07-2010, 10:33 AM
oh no..I have Violent dreams sometimes??

probably because youve been playing too much violent games. because the research does not show any conclusie evidence.

08-07-2010, 10:40 AM
violent dreams can be related to ur lifestyle...there are some conditions where it might be linked to some problem. But violent dreams in that sense are really extreme

08-07-2010, 01:20 PM
i don't have this dream

08-07-2010, 01:23 PM
wah wah eyeliner, such an interesting comment you made, care to elaborate further as you have touched upon a point I find fascinating.

Personally, I think anything can happen in 50 put all the credit to a violent dream you may have had 50yrs ago seems hogwash. It would be interesting to note if the researchers would be alive in 50yrS to continue their research and prove their theories.

08-07-2010, 01:27 PM
^ ayub you have picked up on a very intersting thing, the fact that the research was not a longitudinal study. i think such research maybe supported by some psychological approaches such as freud, because freud emphasises dreams as having some meaning. But holistic factors should be accounted. The research is malestream and its directed towards men, thats another bias aswell.

08-07-2010, 01:42 PM
^ point noted honoroble scholar eyeliner, however I have my doubts when any significant study is based on elements of freudism. I mean, how reliable were freuds theories. It should be pointed out that though he was an excellent physician he was also plagued by drug addiction. Freud some would say was a dranged, sex obsessed pervert with no real evidence to back up his claims.

Do you have an opinion on this matter, I would love to read it.

08-07-2010, 01:50 PM
^ i agree that freuds theories were far stretched in that they cannot be verified or falsified as it was based on case studies. His theories lack a scientific back up, in that they dont meet the hypothetico deductive model. Plus a research that does not consider holistic factors such as cognitive, medical, biological and psychological as well as social is likely to be questioned.

08-07-2010, 02:11 PM
Violent dreams are one of the symptoms of RBD/Parsomnia. Hence the research study hypothesized a relationship between violent dreams and future RBD. The prevalence of RBD is higher in males then females therefore the subjects were mostly males.There were three females included in the study as well.
I believe that studies like these, based on REM, could help us in the investigation of neurodegenerative disorders including RBD.One cannot underestimate the importance of dreams especially the violent ones. There are less chances of having nightmares when you had a peaceful day. On the contrary, being hyperactive and stressed could be one reason to have bad dreamns. Our brains get separated from the outside world the moment we enter REM. That's when our brain, our sensory neurons, the electrochemicals signals, and the hormones in our body start replacing the wear and tear of the body. Consider and contrast the dreams of patients suffering from Schizophrenia, RBD, Parkinson's disease,etc.The violent dreams seen by the patients suffering from the neurodegenrative disordrs are different than what a normal person would see. The cause and effect thoery between violent dreams and the onset of neurodegenrative disorders could be taken in similar manner as we take the role of mutated genes in the onset of particular cancer through pharmacogenomics. The "may" in the article title says a lot about the study: It (violent dreams) could be considered as a "predictor" for the approaching mental illness.

08-07-2010, 05:32 PM
gulalai you said our brain starts suffering wear and tear can you please elaborate thanks.

GoPashtunGo, when we sleep, our brain coordinates with the rest of our body in repairing the damages to our body, such as detoxification of chemicals, synthesis of important hormones, memory consolidation, boosting immune system and growth,etc. Deaming/REM consitutes some 25-30% (if I could recall the figure correctly) of our sleep. According to this one theory, the brain erases unnecessary memories and sensory images from its memory during REM and hence making it more efficient for memory-processing for next day. You can consider it analogous to the Scandisk feature in computer. It removes unnecessary files from the hardisk, therby providing more space and boosting computer performance.

08-07-2010, 05:39 PM
^ it's highly doubtful that the brain erases memories. What is an unnecessary memory?

It's more likely that memories are stored away like files on a computer. It is why certain memories can be recalled many years later or by hypnosis etc.

08-07-2010, 06:11 PM
^ it's highly doubtful that the brain erases memories. What is an unnecessary memory?

It's more likely that memories are stored away like files on a computer. It is why certain memories can be recalled many years later or by hypnosis etc.

Ayub, what I was alluding to is actually a neurobiological theory of "reverse learning". Brain erasing unwanted memory does make a sense to me. Why? Consider the size of our cortex and hence it's capacity to store the amount of information generated in a single day! In order for our cortex to remember each and every minute detail, we need tons of grey matter. That's the reason why we can't remember all the memories.How many of the incidents do you remember from your childhood? or from your school? The most important memories, and hence the necessary/wanted ones, are those of the long-term memory like recalling the difference betwen pouring tea in a cup rather than a plate. The rest, that our brains would delete during sleep, or more precisely during REM, are the ones which remained underdeveloped or broken pieces of information which could not be connected to the existing "memory storage house". Also, sensory memory is different than the "unwanted/unnecessary" memory that we erase during REM.Yes, memories are stored in brain like files in computer.However, while brain store information in multiple regions, a computer store memory in just one drive.

08-07-2010, 10:46 PM
what if you have these types of dreams and then it stops all of a sudden?

08-08-2010, 01:10 AM
Is it possible to retrieve those old memories? Can we force our brain to not forget a certain memory? Who is in charge of all this?

Jasmine, the Hippocampus of the brain is important for taking care of new memories.These memories are then transferred to the frontal cortex for long-term storage. However, for how long would this remain depends on the degree to which we are dependent on the hippocampus and frontal lobes for recallling that memory. Some tragic incident that has left a great impression on one's brain would be easy to be recalled by the frontal cortex (since you have been recalling that incident a number of times. In other words, you intentionally or unintentionally did not want to forget that incident). So whether you would be able to recall a particular old memory depends on where the memory has been stored and how old that recollection is. If the recollection is new (the memory could be from your childhhood so it is old, but since you have been recalling it every now and then, the recollection would be new).

A two-year old cannot remember whatever happened to him/her in the second year of his life but a 22 years old can remember many events of his past, depending upno how strongly those events had left impressions on his brain. When the brain is puzzled to recall a given memory, the brain not only processes the question but also tries to recollect any associated information stored in it (memory retrieval). If the recalled memory has been associated with a personal event in the individual's life, it would be easier to recall it. Furthermore it also depends upon the time that has elapsed between the registering of the memory and the recalling of the memory. Although it is easier for the brain to recall recent events than older ones, our old memories of the distant past could remain as rich as the recent ones.

Who is in charge? The hippocampus of the brain stores recent memories. For long-term storage of memories, the hippocampus transfer these memories to the frontal cortex from where they could be recalled. The frontal cortex is evolved to be more complex with a wide scattering of neuronal connections.That is why neuroscientists believe that long-term memory storage should occur in the cortex. The latter view comes from studies on the amnesic patients who were unable to recall memories from distant past but were unable to recall the recent ones. Lesions in the Hippocampus region could be seen in these patients.

08-08-2010, 01:12 AM
Gulalai yaw poshtana darsa kawalay sama?

Wali na...tsa pokhtana da?

08-08-2010, 01:29 AM
what if you have these types of dreams and then it stops all of a sudden?

DZJ, the violent dreams in question have been observed in cases of patients with neurodegenerative disorders. A healthy human seldom see violent dreams with disrupted muscle atonia (sleep paralysis which is commonly known as "KHAPASSA" in Pashto) on regular basis. Some healthy humans experience regular episodes of KHAPASSA, other would experience once in a blue moon. Stress, sleep-deprivation, sleeping in upward sleeping position, anxiety, depression, hormonal changes are the possible causes. Changes in lifestyle and sleep habits could decrease the frequency of violent dreams. Personally, I have experienced violent dreams for an entire week when I was preparing for this one BIG exam and I took it as a life and death issue. I never had violent dream after appearing in that exam since I removed the "exam stress" from my mind, forever.Oh, actually all forms of violent stress..Khapassa is just too difficult to handle at night, lol.