Blood-based marker developed to detect acute sleep deprivation

Scientists have developed a blood test that can detect acute sleep deprivation, specifically when an individual has not slept for 24 hours.

Scientists have made a groundbreaking discovery in the realm of sleep science by developing a blood test capable of identifying acute sleep deprivation, specifically when an individual has been awake for 24 hours or more. This research, led by experts from Monash University in Australia and the University of Birmingham in the UK, has significant implications for health and safety, particularly in safety-critical environments where lack of sleep can lead to serious injury or even fatalities.

The study, published in the prestigious journal Science Advances, showcases the biomarker’s remarkable accuracy, boasting a 99.2% probability of correctly detecting sleep deprivation. This breakthrough could revolutionize the management of health and safety concerning inadequate sleep, according to Professor Clare Anderson, a leading expert in Sleep and Circadian Science at the University of Birmingham.

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One of the most compelling aspects of this development is its potential impact on road safety, with approximately 20% of road accidents worldwide attributed to sleep deprivation. By enabling quick and accurate identification of sleep-deprived individuals, this blood test could help prevent accidents and save lives. Professor Anderson highlighted the alarming comparison between driving after 24 hours of wakefulness and driving under the influence of more than double the legal limit of alcohol in Australia, emphasizing the critical need for effective detection methods.

While the current biomarker focuses on detecting 24 hours of wakefulness, it is also capable of identifying individuals who have been awake for as little as 18 hours. This versatility enhances its applicability in various contexts, including forensic use. However, further validation is necessary to ensure its reliability and effectiveness in practical scenarios.

The development of this blood-based marker for acute sleep deprivation represents a major breakthrough in sleep science. Its potential to enhance safety and prevent accidents in safety-critical settings is immense, highlighting the transformative impact of research in advancing our understanding of sleep and its effects on human health and well-being.