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First brain image of a dream created

Feat opens the door to probing the stuff of nocturnal dramas

2:21pm, November 4, 2011

The contents of a person’s dream have been revealed by brain scan for the first time, scientists report in the Nov. 8 Current Biology. By monitoring the brain of a man who has unusual control over his dreaming, the accomplishment brings researchers closer to understanding how the brain spins its nightly yarns.

“It’s really exciting that people have done this,” says sleep researcher Edward Pace-Schott at Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “And it also brings back lucid dreaming as a very powerful scientific tool.”

Lucid dreaming is the rare ability to direct behaviors while in a deep sleep. By all objective measures, the person is dead to the world: Most muscles are paralyzed and the eyes are doing the quick jitters that characterize REM, the main dreaming phase of sleep. But at the same time, the lucid dreamer knows that he is dreaming and can control the scenes, sa

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