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February 1968

Dreaming and Korsakoff's Psychosis

Author Affiliations

From the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital, Boston (Dr. Greenberg), and the Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston (Drs.Greenberg and Hartmann).Dr.Pearlman is now at Beth Israel Hospital and is a research fellow of Harvard Medical School, Boston. Dr. Hartmann is Director of the Sleep and Dream Laboratory, Boston State Hospital, and a Career Investigator for the National Institute of Mental Health.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(2):203-209. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740020075009

RECENT theoretical discussions about the function of dreaming have proposed that dreaming may be involved in the memory processes.1-3 The particular disturbance of recent memory which is characteristic of patients with Korsakoff's psychosis suggested that a study of the sleep and dream patterns of such patients might provide information in relation to this hypothesis. Furthermore, studies of stage 1 sleep in cats have shown concurrent highly activated patterns in the limbic and cortical areas.4 Because the lesion in the alcoholic form of Korsakoff's psychosis disrupts a major limbic-cortical Pathway,5 the possibility that this lesion has an effect on the dream process should be considered. (In this paper the authors are assuming that stage 1 rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a reflection on dreaming in man. Therefore, stage 1 and dream time will be used interchangeably.)

With these as theoretical reasons for the study of Korsakoff patients,

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