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Nightmares following stroke and memory loss
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Nightmares following stroke and memory loss

I have been having severe nightmares of being trapped, lost, or dying as my short-term memory becomes much worse.  Can you direct me to any literature on these types of dreams in brain-injured people.  I suffered a stroke 5 years ago and had aphasia but no paresis.

Thank you.
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Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without the ability to examine you and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of your symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

If you are suffering from aphasia, then I suspect your stroke may have involved a specific area on the left side of the brain. That area (called Broca's area) is not typically involved in sleep generation and sleep phenomena, but if a part of the brain called the thalamus was involved (or other areas such as the brainstem, specifically the medulla), weird dreams can occur. If you do not have weakness, only aphasia, then these areas are unlikely to be involved. Investigating for other potential causes of nightmares, including low blood sugar at night, medication side effects, or seizures (being perceived as nightmares) are all recommended. \A progressive memory problem is not typically expected after a stroke; unless several strokes have occurred (leading to what is termed a subcortical or vascular dementia) then the memory loss occuring following a stroke should be non-progressive, meaning that continued memory loss (worsening memory loss) should not be occuring. Memory loss after stroke can be due to depression, recurrent strokes, poor sleep due to sleep apnea, and other non-neurologic problems that can occur unrelated to stroke such as thyroid problems. Sleep apnea is a common problem after stroke, and while it is hard to relate sleep apnea to nightmares, investigation for that is important because treating sleep apnea can help memory (if memory is impaired due to daytime sleepiness from poor sleep).

Discussion of your memory loss and sleep problems with your neurologist is recommended.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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