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Mil Med. 2007 Apr;172(4):383-7.

Psychostimulants and military operations.

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Heller Institute of Medical Research, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer 52621, Israel.


Sleep-deprived individuals appear to have decreased psychological and physical capabilities. Studies have shown how major psychological aspects, such as alertness, complex mental performance, and memory, are strongly affected by sleep deprivation. Military use of psychostimulants dates back many years, especially in units that operate over long hours and deprive soldiers of sleep. During prolonged military operations, pilots are regularly kept awake for hours and days without fulfilling their biological sleep requirements. This consequently affects their natural circadian rhythm. This article deals with both the benefits and the side effects of two kinds of psychostimulants, namely, dextroamphetamine, which is more popular and is most widely used, and modafinil, which is a relatively newer type. There is growing evidence that modafinil has fewer side effects, in comparison with its predecessor dextroamphetamine, while still maintaining all of the latter's beneficial characteristics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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