Can a new test really determine our fatigue?
When people don't get enough sleep, it affects attentiveness and performance. Driving tired people can lead to an increased risk of accidents. Newly developed blood tests could help the police identify drivers who are too tired to drive a car.
Scientists at the University of Surrey Sleep Research Center have now developed a new blood test that can determine how tired certain people are. The experts published the results of their research work in the English-language journal "Sleep".
What could the test be used for?
For example, the new test could be used to help police officers determine if they are too tired to drive safely. Employers could also use the test to assess the fitness and readiness of their staff.
36 subjects participated in the study
To develop the test, the researchers examined 36 healthy adult subjects in their sleep research center. It was analyzed how sleep deprivation can be detected in the blood of the participants. Some of the subjects had to stay awake for a period of 40 hours, study author Dr. Emma Laing from the University of Surrey. Then blood samples were taken and changes occurring in thousands of genes were measured.
Computers were able to determine sleep deprivation with 92 percent accuracy
A computer program identified a total of 68 genes that can be used with an accuracy of 92 percent to determine whether the sample comes from a person with sleep deprivation or a rested person. Scientists hope that they can develop the test further so that it can recognize as accurately as possible how much or how little sleep a person has had.
How many people die from road traffic fatigue each year?
It is difficult to determine how many people actually die each year from road traffic fatigue, as fatigue is much more difficult to detect than alcohol and drug use. At the moment, the police also have no way of testing a person for fatigue. However, this could change in the future. (as)