Research & reports

Title: Identifying and validating blood mRNA biomarkers for acute and chronic insufficient sleep in humans: a machine learning approach

Organisation: Sleep Research Centre, University of Surrey
Date uploaded: 11th October 2018
Date published/launched: September 2018

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This report describes a project which has identified a new test which could pave the way for police forces to identify whether a driver involved in a collision was suffering from sleep deprivation.

Scientists from the Sleep Research Centre at the University of Surrey have created a blood test capable of telling whether a person has skipped a night’s sleep.

The researchers say the breakthrough, which could also assist employers in assessing fitness for duty, paves the way for a future test to accurately calculate how much sleep an individual has had.

Led by professor Derk-Jan Dijk, tests carried out on 36 participants who’d gone through a 40-hour period of sleep deprivation identified changes in the ‘expression levels’ of thousands of genes.

A machine learning algorithm identified a subset of 68 genes and, with 92% accuracy, could detect whether a sample was from a ‘sleep-deprived’ or ‘well-rested’ individual.

The researchers say identifying these biomarkers is the first step to developing a test which can accurately calculate how much sleep an individual has had.

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