Dreams, the mental manifestations that occur while we sleep and which, although they have been shown to be associated with a reworking of information from memory and emotions, still hold many puzzles and mysteries.
Better or worse, dreams play a vital role in our mental health. So what if we stop dreaming? A similar phenomenon is what happens with Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome, Which we will talk about throughout this article.
What is Charcot-Wilbrand Syndrome?
Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome is a strange neurological condition in which the person suffering from it he feels that he has lost the ability to dream. However, what really happens is that the patient suffers from visual agnosia accompanied by loss of the ability to remember mentally or retrieval of images in the mind; since according to studies of REM sleep processes, they remain intact.
During the time we sleep, our brain activity goes through five different phases. The latter of these, known as the REM phase of sleep (translated as rapid eye movement) is characterized by intense brain activity. Through this activity, we can dream and our brain is able to capture information from our surroundings even though we are asleep.
Although at first glance it may seem that Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome is caused by some kind of abnormality in brain activity at this stage, the truth is that studies suggest that, in fact, an injury to the occipital lobe this may be the main genesis of this sleep disorder or disorder.
The name given to this condition is due to the case studies conducted by neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and ophthalmology researcher Hermann Wilbrand. Although they worked separately, each of them made an important contribution to the study of this syndrome.
As for Charcot’s research, they have made it possible to determine that the main manifestation of the syndrome occurs in the lack of the ability to remember images produced in dreams. Which involves the discovery that the person can dream, but is unable to remember. As for Wilbrand’s contribution, it revolves around the discovery of the presence of agnosis as possible lateral conditions.
Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome is considered a rare disease because it has very little incidence in the population. Although this implies a lack of studies to study it, it has been recognized as a condition linked to focal brain damage.
Its possible negative effects
Although patients with this syndrome do not tend to suffer from a severe clinical picture or adverse effects derived from the clinical picture, it is hypothesized that dreams promote certain functions relatively important for the mental health of the patient. no one. Among these benefits is the ability of dreams to promote learning processes.
Likewise, it has been postulated that a complete decrease in the ability to dream, or in this case to remember the dreamed, may be related to the development of obsessive states and even to suffering from certain types of hallucinations. Finally, some theories claim that dreams help in emotional development and preservation, and that the expression of emotions in dreams it can improve or help the expression of emotions in reality.
What are the symptoms?
There are two different classifications that include the symptoms of Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome.. The first is based on studies by the same researchers in the syndrome described above. While the second classification, which is much more current, is based on the type of injury causing it and the analysis of patients’ REM sleep.
1. Traditional classification
As a result of the first studies, the symptoms of Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome were reduced to the following symptoms:
- Visual reminiscence problems.
- Topographic agnosia.
2. Modern classification
However, more recent studies describe the clinical picture of this syndrome based on the type of injury and the assessment of REM sleep of patients. These case studies they were performed by performing tests such as polysomnography, Which studies several parameters of sleep, accompanied by the determination of patterns in the stages of sleep.
In conclusion, the new definition of symptoms of Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome is specified as an association between the loss of the ability to evoke images or visual memories which results in or manifests as a loss of dreams.
What are the causes?
In patients who experience loss of visual images during sleep, a series of injuries due to an acute onset of thrombosis, hemorrhage, trauma or carbon monoxide poisoning have been identified, so that they are established as possible causes of Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome. .
In addition, other conditions or conditions that have a more gradual development, such as the appearance of tumor masses in brain tissue or abnormal embryonic development the corpus callosum have also been associated with this syndrome. Cases of Charcot-Williams have also been found in some patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Turner syndrome.
Regarding the location of brain lesions, lesions are most often localized in the lateral or mesial (median) occipito-temporal areas of the brain and almost always bilaterally. However, no more exact or precise location could be found at this time.
Treatment and prognosis
Due to the nature of this condition, there is still no definitive or effective treatment for Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome. However, there have been cases in which a gradual recovery occurs of the ability to remember dreams.
Although the exact cause of the cure has not yet been determined, it will depend on the severity of the brain damage as well as the root cause of the disease. Depending on these factors, the patient may experience full and partial recovery or no remission of symptoms.