A Blood Test for Drowsy Driving?

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Researchers at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, devised a computer algorithm that could be used to determine whether a blood sample came from a sleep-deprived person or a well-rested person with 92 percent accuracy. This algorithm could one day be used to assess whether sleep deprivation was a contributing factor in a car crash, industrial accident, or other type of incident.

In this small study, 36 participants stayed awake for 40 hours, skipping one night of sleep and researchers performed blood tests to measure expression levels of thousands of genes. They identified 68 genetic biomarkers in the blood — the first step to developing a blood test that can be used to accurately determine how much sleep a person has had.

Sleep deprivation has a significant impact on our physiological health and is associated with a number of adverse health outcomes. Previous research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that drivers who get just one or two hours less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep in a 24-hour period have nearly twice the car crash risk.

Sourced from: Sleep