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Study Raises Questions About Sleep Tests

February 16, 2009

A new study could change the way doctors administer certain sleep tests. It looked at protocol used for detecting excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in adults who may fall asleep while driving.

Researchers found a 40-minute protocol to be more effective than a 20-minute interval.  The study showed more people actually fell asleep during the longer duration.  Results also suggest  the test may not be completely reliable when the strong motivation to keep a driver’s license enables individuals to overcome sleepiness during the test.

According to the principal investigator Giora Pillar, M.D, Ph.D, with the Sleep Laboratory at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, it is very difficult to objectively assess and quantify the capability of an individual to remain vigilant. Many of the study’s participants may have been highly motivated to overcome their sleepiness during the test in order to prevent their license from being revoked.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, February 2009

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