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J Korean Sleep Res Soc. 2006;3(2):85-92.         doi: https://doi.org/10.13078/jksrs.06015
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Attention and Working Memory in Medical Residents and Interns
Hee Jin Kim, Jung Hwa Lee, Kyung-Gyu Choi, Kee-Duk Park, Eun Jung Chung, Eui Jung Kim, and Hyang Woon Lee
Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry,Ewha Womans University and Ewha Medical Research Institute
Corresponding Author: Hyang Woon Lee ,Tel: +82-2-2650-2673, Fax: +82-2-2650-2652, Email: leeh@ewha.ac.kr
Received: 3 December 2006;  Accepted: 15 December 2006.
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Background and Objectives : Most medical residents and interns experience chronic sleep deprivation, which might affect their work performances. The purpose of this study was to investigate effects of chronic sleep deprivation on attention, motor functioning, and verbal learning in medical residents and interns.

Methods : Fifty residents and interns in training at Ewha Womans University College of Medicine were recruited so far. They completed questionnaires including their sleep and work hours, health complaints, scales on daytime sleepiness, work performance, and so on. The stroop test, continuous performance test (CPT), trail making test (TMT) and Korean-California verbal learning test (K-CVLT) were also performed. Subjects were divided into three groups according to their average night sleep hours for more than 2 weeks; less than 4 hours as severe sleep deprivation (S-SD), between 4 and 6 hours as moderate (M-SD), and more than 6 hours as non-sleep deprivation (non-SD) groups.

Results : Thirty five out of fifty subjects (70%) were sleep-deprived (11/50, S-SD and 24/50, M-SD), and mean sleep duration was 5.0¢®¨u1.2 hours/night. Subjects in the S-SD group showed higher Stanford and Epworth sleepiness scales (p=0.042 and 0.057) than the other groups. SD groups more frequently complained difficulties in learning (p<0.0001) and concentration (p=0.003). SD groups showed delayed reaction time on visual CPT test (p=0.044), and more commission errors on auditory CPT (p=0.029), but no differences in K-CVLT.

Conclusion : Medical residents and interns often suffer from chronic sleep deprivation and over-work. Sleep deprivation affects attention and motor performance rather than verbal learning.
Keywords: Sleep deprivation | Attention | Working memory
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