The brain decade in debate: VII. Neurobiology of sleep and dreams

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Alóe, Flávio
Amzica, F.
Hening, W.
Menna-Barreto, L.
Pinto Junior, L.r. [UNIFESP]
Velluti, R.
Vertes, R.
Timo-Iaria, C.
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This article is a transcription of an electronic symposium held on February 5, 2001 by the Brazilian Society of Neuroscience and Behavior (SBNeC) during which eight specialists involved in clinical and experimental research on sleep and dreaming exposed their personal experience and theoretical points of view concerning these highly polemic subjects. Unlike most other bodily functions, sleep and dreaming cannot, so far, be defined in terms of definitive functions that play an ascribable role in maintaining the organism as a whole. Such difficulties appear quite clearly all along the discussions. In this symposium, concepts on sleep function range from a protective behavior to an essential function for maturation of the nervous system. Kleitman's hypothesis [Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (1974), 159: 293-294] was discussed, according to which the basal state is not the wakeful state but sleep, from which we awake to eat, to protect ourselves, to procreate, etc. Dreams, on the other hand, were widely discussed, being considered either as an important step in consolidation of learning or simply the conscious identification of functional patterns derived from the configuration of released or revoked memorized information.
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. Associação Brasileira de Divulgação Científica, v. 34, n. 12, p. 1509-1519, 2001.