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June 17, 1974

14/Sec and 6/Sec Spikes on Sleep EEG as Normal Finding in Stage REM

Author Affiliations

Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis

JAMA. 1974;228(12):1523. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230370021015

To the Editor.—  Abnormal 14/sec and 6/sec spikes have been considered to be associated with a variety of behaviors and neurologic problems. These include violence without subsequent remorse, school difficulties, vegetative symptoms, central nervous system trauma, and muscular dystrophy. Other authors have questioned these findings. Small,1 for instance, found them in 5% of hospitalized adult psychiatric patients, but they were not associated with symptoms reported in the literature. In our laboratory, we have had the opportunity to record longer (eight-hour) sleep electroencephalograms on a nonpatient population, and have concluded that these abnormal spikes represent a normal finding related to a specific sleep stage.Thirty-four subjects (25 men, 9 women) ranging in age from 18 to 28 were recorded from 10 PM to 6 AM for use as normal controls for pharmacologic studies. Each was interviewed by a psychiatrist who found no gross evidence of psychiatric illness and no history