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April 1965

Neurological Findings After Prolonged Sleep Deprivation

Author Affiliations

From the US Navy Medical Neuropsychiatric Research Unit.

Arch Neurol. 1965;12(4):399-403. doi:10.1001/archneur.1965.00460280069006

IN SPITE of the awareness that prolonged wakefulness has a detrimental effect on human beings, it was not until 1896 that Patrick and Gilbert1 first studied three human beings for 90 hours of wakefulness and demonstrated decreases in sensory acuity, motor speed, ability to memorize, and the production of visual hallucinations. Since that time there has been a gradual increase in interest in sleep deprivation by psychologists, physiologists, and psychiatrists. Experiments have primarily taken the form of enforced abstention from sleep for varied lengths of time, with performance and learning tests being administered before, during, and after the prolonged vigil. Studies of the effect of prolonged sleep deprivation from a neurologic point of view, however, are relatively rare. Cooperman et al2 demonstrated with von Frey hairs that pain occurred with a weaker stimulation after 60 hours of wakefulness; Freeman3 described increased tone in the quadriceps muscle after

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