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Caffeine Maintains Vigilance and Marksmanship in Simulated Urban Operations with Sleep Deprivation

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McLellan TM, Kamimori GH, Bell DG, Smith IF, Johnson D, Belenky G. Caffeine maintains vigilance and marksmanship in simulated urban operations with sleep deprivation. Aviat Space Environ Med 2005; 76:39–45.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of caffeine (CAF) on physical, vigilance, and marksmanship tasks in soldiers during a sustained 55-h field exercise. Methods: There were 30 soldiers (23.6 ± 4.5 yr, 81.8 ± 10.3 kg) who were divided into a placebo (PLAC) and a CAF group. After a period of restricted sleep of 3 h during the first night, a period of sustained wakefulness began that ended at 11:00 of the third day. PLAC or CAF doses of 100 mg, 200 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg were administered at 21:45, 23:45, 01:45, and 03:45, respectively. At 22:00 of day 2, subjects began two cycles of marksmanship, urban operations vigilance, and psychomotor vigilance (PVT) testing which ended at 06:00 of day 3. Results: CAF maintained marksmanship vigilance at 85% throughout the second night as compared with PLAC, who significantly declined to 61.4 ± 28.2% overnight. Marksmanship accuracy also decreased significantly in PLAC from 95.1 ± 8.3% to 83.3 ± 19.2%, but no change was observed in CAF. Urban operations vigilance decreased for both groups over the night, but the decrease was less for CAF (81.2 ± 14.4% to 63.4 ± 24.1%) compared with PLAC (77.6 ± 19.2% to 44.0 ± 30.2%). Reaction time and the number of major and minor lapses with the PVT significantly increased in PLAC but were unaffected in CAF. Conclusions: It was concluded that CAF was an effective strategy to sustain vigilance and psychomotor performance during military operations involving sleep deprivation.

Keywords: continuous operations; ergogenic and cognitive aids; physical and cognitive performance

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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