Discovery of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep by William C. Dement and Michel Jouvet, 1955-1970: Contribution of their Environment and Later Findings

Claude Gottesmann
Département de Biologie, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France

Series: Neuroscience Research Progress
BISAC: MED057000



Volume 10

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Volume 2

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Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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Last century’s research on sleep may be divided into two different time periods. The first half of the century was dominated by the work of Henri Piéron and Nathaniel Kleitman, and was devoted to sleep experiments of a classical nature that were performed on animals and humans (Gottesmann, Nova 2013).

At the beginning of the second half of the century, a major discovery identified a sleep phase during which eye movements can be recorded and dreaming occurs. William C. Dement and Michel Jouvet, dominated the next fifty years independently with their discovery of nearly all the properties concerning “rapid eye movement (REM) sleep”, also called “paradoxical sleep”.

This book analyses the first major findings that were made possible by all the available methods (behavioral observations, electrophysiology, surgical interventions, pharmacology) used by both authors to characterize this sleep stage. All the successive papers by Dement and Jouvet are analyzed in turn for the period from 1955 to 1970. The results that came of the authors’ research environment are taken into account, and all the data available in the past and present are discussed and integrated into those findings. (Imprint: Nova Biomedical)


Part 1. Introduction

Chapter 1. Knowledge About Sleep Processes at the Beginning of Dement's and Jouvet's Research

Part 2. Results

Chapter 2. 1955-1960 - The Major Breakthrough Discovery of REM Sleep

Chapter 3. 1961-1965 - Exploring REM Sleep and the Structures Involved

Chapter 4. 1966-1970 - New Properties of REM Sleep and Later Findings

Part 3. Conclusion



About the Author


“This is a superb review of the literature of sleep and wakefulness from an individual who has first-hand knowledge of the events leading to the discovery of REM sleep. Dr. Gottesmann provides new information as well as a unique perspective regarding this seminal event. I highly recommend this book to those interested in the any aspect of the critical scientific findings that led to the discovery of REM sleep.” - Michael H. Chase, Professor, Department of Physiology, UCLA School of Medicine, Center for Health Sciences, CA USA

Click here to read the book review by - Birendra N. Mallick, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

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