Monitoring the Effects of Sleep Deprivation Using Neuronal Avalanches

Investigators at the National Institute of Mental Health have discovered a novel method for monitoring the effects of sleep deprivation on brain activity. Sleep deprivation has been known to adversely affect basic cognitive abilities, such as object recognition and decision making, even leading to hallucinations and epileptic seizures. This invention measures the degree of sleep deprivation and decrease in behavioral performance directly from resting brain activity. A deviation from optimal avalanche parameters correlates with duration of wakefulness and decrease in performance.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Monitor wakefulness, reaction time
  • Potential application for monitoring sleep-deprived first-responders (e.g., military, EMT, etc.)
  • Continuously monitors brain activity
  • Non-invasive

Development Stage:
  • In vivo data available (human)
  • Prototype

Related Invention(s):


Dietmar Plenz (NIMH)  ➽ more inventions...

Oren Shriki (NIMH)  ➽ more inventions...

Giulio Tononi

Intellectual Property:
US Pat: - issued -
US Application No. 61/866,962 filed on 2013-08-16
PCT Application No. PCT/US2014/051234 filed on 2014-08-15
US Application No. 17/028,901 filed on 2020-09-22

Meisel C, et al. PMID 24174669

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Institute of Mental Health is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize this technology. For collaboration opportunities, please contact Jennifer Wong at

Licensing Contact:
Jennifer Wong, M.S.
Phone: 301-480-4821

OTT Reference No: E-345-2013-0
Updated: Aug 17, 2016