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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Update

Air Date: Week of

Living On Earth’s Diane Toomey reports on a new study on the dangers of sleep depravation.


TOOMEY: Driving while you're tired isn't a good idea. Now, a new study shows just how dangerous it can be. Scientists in Australia served a small group of people alcohol until they were legally drunk. Then they had these people perform a number of computer-based exercises designed to test memory, hand-eye coordination, and reaction time. The next day, scientists didn't let the same group of people sleep, and then they repeated the tests. On average, people who were kept awake about 18 to 19-and-a-half hours, performed as if their blood alcohol levels were point one percent. That's at or above the legal definition of intoxication throughout the U.S. The subjects in this experiment all got a good night's rest before they were sleep-deprived, but many people suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, which may enhance dangers on the road. That's this week's health update. I'm Diane Toomey.



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