Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 136  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1031-1038

Meditation as an intervention for cognitive disturbances following total sleep deprivation

Neurophysiology Division, Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DRDO), Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Usha Panjwani
Scientist 'E' & Head, Neurophysiology Division, Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DRDO), Ministry of Defence, Lucknow Road, Timarpur, Delhi 110 054
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 23391801

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Background & objectives : Decline in cognitive functions is a major challenge for professionals during sustained wakefulness. We used middle latency response (MLR), event related potentials P300-ERP and contingent negative variation (CNV) and Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM) - a standard neuropsychological test were used to evaluate cognitive impairment after total sleep deprivation (SD); and to study the impact of meditation as an intervention for this impairment. Methods: Healthy male volunteers (n=10) drawn randomly from the Indian Army participated in a 6-night study design executed before and after two months of meditation practice: night 1-adaptation, night 2-baseline, night 3-24 h SD, night 4-recovery sleep, night 5-24 h SD after 60 days meditation, night 6-recovery sleep after SD. A 36 h SD was obtained by keeping the subject awake for 12 h after 24 h SD. Results: The latency and amplitude of P300 increased after 36 h SD. Amplitudes and latencies of both early and late CNV increased after 24 and 36 h SD, indicating deficient orientation and impairment of attention and perception. Prolonged CNV reaction time after 36 h SD manifested deficient motor response following second (imperative) stimulus. Latency of MLR Na registered significant change following 36 h SD compared to baseline (P<0.01) and recovery (P<0.05). RAPM score showed significant decrease after 36 h of wakefulness indicating impaired analytical ability and difficulty in problem solving. None of these parameters showed any significant alteration after SD, following meditation practice. Interpretation & conclusions : The present results showed that SD impaired cognitive performance to graded extents significantly, but this deterioration could be improved to a significant extent using meditation.

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