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Research shows resident work-hour reform doesn't remove all dangers

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 26, 2005

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National standards limiting medical residents' hours don't completely prevent the negative consequences of sleep loss, according to a study recently published in Sleep.

Although residents are limited to an average of 80 hours of work per week with no more than 30 consecutive hours of in-hospital call, they still experience sleep loss, which negatively impacts cognitive and clinical performance, according to the study.

To reach that conclusion, author Ingrid Philibert, MHA, director of the Dept. of Field Activities at the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, analyzed 60 studies on sleep deprivation, for a sample of 959 doctors and 1,028 non-doctors.

She said more research was needed to understand better how partial-sleep loss impacts clinical and educational training and to find ways to improve patient safety and resident learning despite trainees' fatigue.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/12/26/prbf1226.htm.

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