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For the first time, scientists have recorded from individual brain cells during the dreaming phase of sleep.
After each rapid eye movement (REM) they recorded bursts of activity that match what happens when we are awake and we see - or imagine - a new image.
They suggest that these well-known flickering movements accompany a "change of scene" in our dreams.
The recordings were made from patients with electrodes implanted in their brains to monitor seizures.
"It's a unique opportunity to look at what's happening inside the human brain," Dr Yuval Nir, from Tel Aviv University in Israel, told the BBC. "We're very thankful to the epilepsy patients who volunteered to take part."
Dr Nir worked with colleagues from France and the US on the study, which is published in the journal Nature Communications.
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