Thoracic and Sleep Group Queensland People caring for how you breathe and sleep

June 13, 2017

A road side test for a tired brain? Not yet…

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , — Phil Teuwen @ 3:24 am

Measuring fatigue is an interesting topic, and an important one. With fatigue and drowsiness shown to reduce reflexes, our ability to concentrate and increases road accidents; it is no surprise that measuring this is of interest. This author recently wrote of a prototype road side fatigue test that involves a driving simulator and various sensors (measuring eye blinks, eye movements and ability to maintain concentration).

You can read that article here:

There are other methods currently being developed to assess sleepiness, and while not specifically for road side testing, perhaps this may one day be a possible application for these methods. Recently Jawinski et al. published a paper in the Journal of Sleep that looks to assess the relationship between VIGALL, a form of computerised brain wave (EEG) analysis and a common subjective sleepiness tool, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). What they found was that the VIGALL-ESS association approximates the ESS-MSLT results. The MSLT is an objective sleep study that measures the ability of a person to fall asleep throughout the day and is the gold standard assessment of sleepiness. The authors suggest VIGALL could be used to assess the daytime sleepiness of large populations but are not yet confident VIGALL can identify actual disorders of excessive sleepiness.

While we are a long way from road side brain activity testing, VIGALL is an interesting if not yet well proven system for objectively assessing sleepiness.

Original article can be found here:

May 9, 2017

World Road Safety Week

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — Trent Segal @ 2:19 am

It is the fourth United Nations World Road Safety week from 8-14th May 2017.  The primary message from the UN is to promote speed reduction, so how can we achieve this?

  • Safe drivers. Research shows that a 5% cut in average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of road fatalities.
  • Safe roads. Speed management should be part of every road design to ensure the speeds can be maintained and limits are set appropriately.
  • Safe vehicles. Make sure you keep your car in good condition. A car leaking oil can become a serious hazard to others sharing the road. Modern cars generally have improved safety technologies such as airbags and emergency braking systems.

We can all do our part to ensure we are safe drivers but this doesn’t stop at not speeding. Campaigns against drunk and drug driving have been advertised at times with shocking graphical content.

But what about driving tired, or driving with an untreated sleep disorder?

Research has shown that after sleep deprivation, drivers tend to drift significantly further from side to side on the road. Additionally reaction times are significantly reduced when sleep deprived.  A recent study looked at untreated sleep apnoea and driving performance over time.  They found that both healthy and untreated sleep apnoea sufferers drove similarly at the start of the drive, however during the course of the drive the performance degraded much more quickly in the group with sleep apnoea.

If you suspect you have a sleep disorder then visit your local GP to discuss your options or for referral to a sleep Physician. For more information on the UN road safety week visit their website.

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