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May 1960

Experimental Sleep Deprivation in Schizophrenic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Verdun Protestant Hospital and the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University Faculty of Medicine.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(5):534-544. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590110058007

In this investigation the effects of 100 consecutive hours of wakefulness were studied in six chronic psychotic hospital patients. It was intended to observe, record, and measure physiological and psychological changes occurring during prolonged wakefulness and to study the possible influence of this specific stress on the course of the psychotic process. Although there are many references to experimental sleep deprivation in animals and in healthy volunteers, we could not find reports on similar experiments in psychotic subjects in the literature.

Previous Observations  Patrick and Gilbert1 investigated the effects of sleep deprivation in 1896. Three subjects were kept awake for 90 hours. The authors observed a tendency to visual hallucinations in one subject. Later, Robinson and Hermann,2 Laslett,3 and others reported on several investigations of sleep deprivation in humans and in animals.The sleep deprivation ranged from 60 to more

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