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Electricity May Let Us Induce Lucid Dreams, Control Nightmares

So where does The Sandman come into all this?


Forget shit that’ll shock your eyelids– turns out your brain may be the body part you most want to ply with electrical current. A study published yesterday in Nature Neuroscience shows that mild electric stimulation of the scalp may induce lucid dreaming and help manage nightmares. So hello Tom Hiddleston and sayonara, dream where my teeth fall out!

The study was headed by Dr. Ursula Voss, whose previous research showed that lucid dreaming occurs at 40-megahertz. For the newest findings, Voss and a team applied electric stimulation to the scalps of 27 sleeping participants who reported never experiencing lucid dreaming pre-study. Tests showed an increase of activity in participants’ frontal and temporal areas of the brain after their scalp was stimulated with electricity between 25 and 40-megahertz. 5-10 seconds after the electricity was applied, participants were woken up and asked to describe their dream. The team determined that electrical stimulation of the scalp increased the probability of dream lucidity, but participants who received a charge of less than 25-megahertz didn’t show the “higher order consciousness” necessary for lucid dreaming.

Co-author on the study professor J Allan Hobson of Harvard, explained to The Guardian:

The key finding is that you can, surprisingly, by scalp stimulation, influence the brain. And you can influence the brain in such a way that a sleeper, a dreamer, becomes aware that he is dreaming[…]as a model for mental illness, understanding lucid dreaming is absolutely crucial. I would be cautious about interpreting the results as of direct relevance to the treatment of medical illnesses, but [it’s] certainly a step in the direction of understanding how the brain manages to hallucinate and be deluded.

I guess there’s hope for Electro yet.

(The Guardian via Gizmodo, image via Diego da Silva)

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