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Dreaming Sleep in Autistic Twins

EDWARD M. ORNITZ, MD; EDWARD R. RITVO, MD; RICHARD D. WALTER, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;12(1):77-79. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01720310079010.
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Beginning with the discoveries of Dement and Kleitman,2 a cyclical low-voltage fast electroencephalographic pattern occurring during sleep accompanied by rapid conjugate eye movements, decreased muscle tone, irregularity of heart rate, respiration and blood pressure, and frequent twitching movements of the muscles of the distal extremities and facial expression has been associated in the adult human with dreaming. This phase of sleep has been referred to as "dreaming sleep."8 Because of the similarities between the expression of thought in schizophrenia and in normal dreaming, these studies have been recently extended to adult schizophrenic subjects.4 Recently, data have become available on the patterning of the dreaming sleep phase in normal children.7 It has therefore become possible to extend these studies to young autistic children in whom there is also a deviant expression of thought.

Methods  The subjects for this study were identical male twins both of

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