pontine-geniculate-occipital wave

pontine-geniculate-occipital wave

An erratic volley of discharges from cholinergic neurons into higher cortical and other regions of the brain, which only occurs during dreaming. PGO waves stimulate the motor centres in the brainstem that would otherwise result in motor activity, but which are inhibited by spinal cord signals that prevent movement of all muscle groups (except for the eyelids). PGO waves also impact on emotional circuits, which explains why dreams are accompanied by strong emotions (e.g., anxiety, fear, joy, sadness, guilt and eroticism).

It is possible to enter the cholinergic state without being asleep, as occurs in meditation and drug-induced or schizophrenia-related hallucinations.
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