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Effect of Vestibular and Auditory Stimulation on the REMs of REM Sleep in Autistic Children

Edward M. Ornitz, MD; Alan B. Forsythe, PhD; Augustin de la Peña, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;29(6):786-791. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.04200060062009.
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The influence of vestibular and auditory stimulation on the oculomotor output during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep was studied in both normal and autistic children. One measure of the ocular activity from the entire night which measured the degree of REM clustering without reference to REM sleep time was significantly smaller for the autistic than for the normal children under the influence of vestibular stimulation.

The duration and organization of the REM bursts significantly increased during the course of the night in the normal children in response to the vestibular stimulation and showed no response during the course of the night in the autistic children. The induced changes are manifestations of a specific effect on the phasic activity of REM sleep since no changes in the percent of REM sleep time or the nocturnal sleep cycle occurred.

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