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Boston Globe: "How tired is too tired?"

October 4, 2010

On September 21-22, the HMS Division of Sleep Medicine hosted a meeting on "Finding a Research Path for the Identification of Biomarkers of Sleepiness" which drew together about 150 researchers to identify characteristics of sleepiness that would be useful for practical applications.

As researchers discussed at the meeting, sleep deficiency is becoming a more common problem in the US, and people who are not getting enough often cannot tell that sleep deprivation has impaired their ability to perform tasks by deactivating parts of the brain responsible for higher mental function and relaying sensory information. Currently there is no objective measure of sleepiness that determines when a person is too impaired to perform tasks like driving a car, flying an airplane, or performing surgery. Researchers are developing accurate measures and treatments for the effects of sleep deprivation to improve health and reduce drowsiness-related accidents.

Attendees did not come to a definitive conclusion but did set the groundwork for further progress on the topic.

Read the full article at

Visit the Biomarkers of Sleepiness page more information and abstracts.

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