Thirteen normal volunteers were studied with fMRI during arithmetic performance after a normal night of sleep and following sleep deprivation (SD). Aims included determining whether the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the parietal lobe arithmetic areas are vulnerable to the effects of SD. After a normal night of sleep, activation localized to the bilateral PFC, parietal lobes and premotor areas. Following SD, activity in these regions decreased markedly, especially in the PFC. Performance also dropped. Data from the serial subtraction task are consistent with Horne's PFC vulnerability hypothesis but, based on this and other studies, we suggest the localized, functional effects of SD in the brain may vary, in part, with the specific cognitive task.