Limb amputation is followed, in approximately 90% of patients, by “phantom limb” sensations during wakefulness. When amputated patients dream, however, the phantom limb may be present all the time, part of the time, intermittently or not at all. Such dreaming experiences in amputees have usually been obtained only retrospectively in the morning and, moreover, dreaming is normally associated with muscular atonia so the motor counterpart of the phantom limb experience cannot be observed directly. REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), in which muscle atonia is absent during REM sleep and patients act out their dreams, allows a more direct analysis of the “phantom limb” phenomena and their modifications during sleep.
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Competing interests: None.