Jun 24, 2019 | Updated: 08:43 AM EDT

Automated Caffeine-Guidance Algorithm Provides Customized Caffeine Strategy for Alertness

Jun 07, 2019 01:46 PM EDT

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Automated Caffeine-Guidance Algorithm Provides Customized Caffeine Strategy for Alertness
(Photo : Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay)

In preliminary results of a new study, a web-based caffeine optimization tool successfully designs effective strategies to maximize sharpness while avoiding excessive caffeine consumption.

This team of researchers used multiple sleep-deprivation and shift-work scenarios to generate caffeine-consumption guidance using the open-access tool 2B-Alert Web 2.0. Then, they compared the results with the U.S. Army Guidelines. According to their analysis, the solutions suggested by the quantitative caffeine optimization tool either required on average 40 percent less caffeine or enhanced alertness by an additional 40 percent.

The principal investigator Jaques Reifman, Ph.D., a Department of the Army Senior Research Scientist for Advanced Medical Technology, serving at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, said that their 2B-Alert Web tool allows an individual, in their case their service members, to optimize beneficial effects of caffeine while minimizing its consumption.

The author of the study noted that caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant to counter the effects of sleep deprivation on alertness. To be safe and most useful, however, the right amount must be consumed at the right time.

At SLEEP in Baltimore last year, Reifman presented data comparing the algorithm with the caffeine dosing strategies of four previously published experimental studies of sleep loss. The new research extended his team's previous work by incorporating the automated caffeine-guidance algorithm in an open-access tool so that users can input several factors: the desirable peak-alertness periods within a sleep/wake schedule, the minimum desirable level of alertness, and the maximum tolerable daily caffeine intake.

The 2B-Alert Web 2.0 tool, with this added capability, now allows users to predict the alertness of an average individual as a function of his or her sleep/wake schedule and caffeine schedule. Also, it enables users to automatically obtain optimal caffeine timing and doses to achieve peak alertness at the desired times. Reifman further noted that this freely available tool would have practical applications that extend beyond the realms of the military and the research lab.

Explaining further, he said that if anyone pulls an all-nighter, needs to be at peak alertness between 9 AM and 5 PM, and desires to consume as little caffeine as possible, when and how much caffeine should the person consume? This question is the type 2B-Alert was designed to answer.

The researchers published the abstract of the research in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and will be presented on June 12 in San Antonio at SLEEP 2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Association Professional Sleep Society LLC (APSS), which is a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. 

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