The Benefits of Ramadan Fasting on the Cognitive Function of Medical Students

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Laboratory of Clinical Neuroscience and Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hassan II University, Casablanca, Morocco.

2 University Psychiatric Center, Ibn Rochd, Casablanca, Morocco.

3 Data Processing Service, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hassan II University, Casablanca, Morocco.


Adult Muslims have a religious obligation to fast every day for 29-30 days in Ramadan. In fasting individuals, the level of cognition may be affected, which in turn influences the performance of individuals. The present study aimed to assess the possible adverse effects of Ramadan fasting on the cognitive functions of medical students in Morocco. The study was conducted on 41 male Muslim medical students, who took a neuropsychological test one week before, during (second and third weeks of Ramadan) and after Ramadan. In addition, the participants were assessed in terms of the sleep patterns, working hours, and meals. According to the findings, Ramadan fasting decreased the body weight and body mass index of the students. The tests were performed using a CogState computerized cognitive tasks battery, which examined the psychomotor function (processing speed), attention, visual learning and memory, working memory (executive function), and verbal learning and memory of the participants. The obtained results indicated no significant changes at the four test periods (P<0.05). Despite the disturbances observed in the meals, working hours, and sleep duration, Ramadan fasting had no impact on the cognitive function of the medical students.


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