Vigilance Research Group

Research group leader

Research focuses

Driving rehabilitation:

  • Assessing and judging fitness-to-drive in patients with sleep-wake disorders or epilepsy
  • Multidimensional diagnosis and treatment of patients with narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, non-organic hypersomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, and other sleep-wake disorders.

Methods

  • Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT)
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)
  • Polysomnography
  • EEG and Videography
  • Driving Simulator(s)
  • Steer Clear
  • Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT)
  • Pupillography

Short description

An accurate and precise assessment of the complex construct of sleepiness, incl. the judgement of fitness-to-drive, is still missing. The diagnostic criteria are poorly defined and differential diagnosis remains ambiguous. An improved accuracy in diagnosis and quantification of sleepiness as well as optimal treatment are important prerequisites for driving rehabilitation.

The group recently established the concept of “spontaneously perceived sleepiness” (SPS), which demonstrates that healthy sleep deprived individuals can fall asleep without prior perception of sleepiness in the MWT but not in the Driving Simulator condition. A current follow up project consists of the comparison of SPS with other subjective sleepiness variables and driving performance.

In parallel, several projects with different approaches aiming to improve the accuracy and precision of judging sleepiness have been started.

One approach includes videography-analysis of sleepy patients in the MWT, including eyelid behavior. Another approach focuses on the change of behavioral movements due to increasing sleepiness.

Last but not least, the knowledge acquired is integrated in a diagnostically centred project to evaluate and develop tools that help to differentiate between different sleep-wake disorders.

We aim to coordinate medical expertise in order to improve driving rehabilitation of sleepy patients and epilepsy, but also for other disorders in future. Please also visit www.safe-driving.ch.