Electrical stimulation of brain alters dreams, study finds

by Richard Ingham
Scientists on Sunday said they had used a harmless electrical current to modify sleep so that an individual has "lucid dreams," a particularly powerful form of dreaming. The discovery provides insights into the mechanism of dreaming—an area that has fascinated thinkers for millennia—and may one day help treat mental illness and post-trauma nightmares, they said.
The volunteers were tested at frequencies of 2 Hz, 6 Hz, 12 Hz, 25 Hz, 60 Hz and 100 Hz.
"The effect... was only observed for 25 and 40 Hz, both frequencies in the lower gamma frequency band," Voss said.
Steve, I was actually just typing a post about this study. I'll add my post to yours:

Stimulation of the fronto-temporal lobe triggers lucid dreaming- I can't access the full text, but maybe someone else can. Here is the link+abstract:

Induction of self awareness in dreams through frontal low current stimulation of gamma activity

Recent findings link fronto-temporal gamma electroencephalographic (EEG) activity to conscious awareness in dreams, but a causal relationship has not yet been established. We found that current stimulation in the lower gamma band during REM sleep influences ongoing brain activity and induces self-reflective awareness in dreams. Other stimulation frequencies were not effective, suggesting that higher order consciousness is indeed related to synchronous oscillations around 25 and 40 Hz.
Also, while reading about this study, I came across another (possibly related) study from 2003 where it appears that suppression of the fronto-temporal lobe triggered savant-like skills in normal people. The full text for this study is available on pubmed, though I haven't had a chance to read it all yet. Here's the link+abstract:

Savant-like skills exposed in normal people by suppressing the left fronto-temporal lobe.

The astonishing skills of savants have been suggested to be latent in everyone, but are not normally accessible without a rare form of brain impairment. We attempted to simulate such brain impairment in healthy people by directing low-frequency magnetic pulses into the left fronto-temporal lobe. Significant stylistic changes in drawing were facilitated by the magnetic pulses in four of our 11 participants. Some of these "facilitated" participants also displayed enhanced proofreading ability. Our conclusions are derived from 11 right-handed male university students, eight of whom underwent placebo stimulation. We examined performance before, during and after exposure to the stimulation.
So whatever the case, it appears that the there is something interesting going on with the fronto-temporal lobe and conciousness, and we should keep studying it to see what we can find out.