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September 5, 1959


Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Kan.; Oklahoma City

Resident in Psychiatry, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City (Dr. Brauchi); and Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma School of Medicine and University Hospitals, Oklahoma City (Dr. West).

JAMA. 1959;171(1):11-14. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010190013003

The effects of prolonged wakefulness were studied in a man who had been hospitalized for nervous disorders on three previous occasions. After the third hospitalization he had worked successfully under exacting conditions for six years, until he subjected himself to two periods of sleep deprivation. The first period of 89 hours precipitated an acute state of confusion from which he quickly recovered. The second period produced hallucinations, delusions, and complete disorganization. It was terminated at 168 hours and 33 minutes, but the psychotic symptoms and personality changes persisted. His affairs became confused, and he sought treatment. After four months of hospitalization he returned to work. He has been in reasonably good health for more than a year since that time.