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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 May;188(5):1198-201.

Effect of sleep deprivation on medical resident and student cognitive function: A prospective study.

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  • 1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine, 69 Jesse Hill Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine whether cognitive function test results decrease after a typical night of on-call duty, on the basis of the amount of sleep that is obtained.


Two standard cognitive functions tests (the Grooved Pegboard and California Verbal Learning Test II) were administered to the 30 participants who were members of the obstetrics and gynecology house staff and to medical students at Emory University School of Medicine. Each test was administered twice, before and after on-call duty. The data were analyzed with a paired two-tailed Student t test.


For the California Verbal Learning Test II, trial 5 showed a decrease in score of 0.8 (P =.05) after on-call duty. Trials 1 through 5 showed a decrease in score of 3.5 (P =.01).


This finding suggests that cognitive function test scores do decrease after on-call duty. Scrutiny of this issue by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education is justified, and the issue should continue to be evaluated. Our finding suggests that a change in our current educational structure is warranted.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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