Article

Impaired decision making following 49 h of sleep deprivation

Department of Behavioral Biology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA.
Journal of Sleep Research (Impact Factor: 2.95). 04/2006; 15(1):7-13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2006.00487.x
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ABSTRACT Sleep deprivation reduces regional cerebral metabolism within the prefrontal cortex, the brain region most responsible for higher-order cognitive processes, including judgment and decision making. Accordingly, we hypothesized that two nights of sleep loss would impair decision making quality and lead to increased risk-taking behavior on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), which mimics real-world decision making under conditions of uncertainty. Thirty-four healthy participants completed the IGT at rested baseline and again following 49.5 h of sleep deprivation. At baseline, volunteers performed in a manner similar to that seen in most samples of healthy normal individuals, rapidly learning to avoid high-risk decks and selecting more frequently from advantageous low-risk decks as the game progressed. After sleep loss, however, volunteers showed a strikingly different pattern of performance. Relative to rested baseline, sleep-deprived individuals tended to choose more frequently from risky decks as the game progressed, a pattern similar to, though less severe than, previously published reports of patients with lesions to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Although risky decision making was not related to participant age when tested at rested baseline, age was negatively correlated with advantageous decision making on the IGT, when tested following sleep deprivation (i.e. older subjects made more risky choices). These findings suggest that cognitive functions known to be mediated by the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, including decision making under conditions of uncertainty, may be particularly vulnerable to sleep loss and that this vulnerability may become more pronounced with increased age.

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Available from: William D. S. Killgore, Sep 02, 2015
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    • "Interestingly, humans and animals 67 face a variety of challenging environmental conditions that can 68 dramatically impact sleep and sleep quality. Sleep disruption, by 69 itself, can result in cognitive impairment (Chuah et al., 2006; Van 70 Dongen et al., 2005; Rogers et al., 2003), increased emotional reac- 71 tivity (Goldstein et al., 2013), increased risk-taking (Killgore et al., 72 2006) and may be a contributing factor for developing depression 73 and other psychiatric illnesses (Tesler et al., 2013). Given the well 74 documented observation that individuals vary greatly in their 75 resilience/vulnerability to sleep loss (Van Dongen et al., 2004), it 76 seems likely that sleep disruption may enhance the vulnerability 77 to individuals exposed to threatening or challenging conditions. "
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    • "Although cognitive tasks vary considerably in their sensitivity to sleep loss, to date the fundamental role of sleep on the proper functioning of our daily life is widely accepted (Durmer and Dinges, 2005). Sleep deprivation appears to have the largest adverse effects on performance when the executed tasks depend upon the functional integrity of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) (Couyoumdjian et al., 2010; Drummond et al., 2006; Harrison et al., 2007; Killgore et al., 2006). The PFC is well known to be involved in executive functions (Yuan and Raz, 2014), as well as in the regulation of emotions, and particularly in the ability to shift to someone else's perspective (Ochsner, 2013). "
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