Friday, October 22, 2021

In an important step toward identifying who is too impaired to drive due to cannabis use, a team of researchers from the University of Iowa and Advanced Brain Monitoring (Carlsbad, California) found there are specific markers in brain activity linked to cannabis intoxication that consistently and negatively impact driving performance.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, involved collecting EEG data on subjects while they underwent a series of cognitive tasks and a simulated driving task at the University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator. The researchers were able to identify those whose driving was negatively impacted due to cannabis use by looking at the EEG data.

These findings provide better understanding to how drugs impact brain activity in the context of driving impairment. The team hopes to dive deeper into the cognitive processes and better understand the root causes to changes in driving performance while under the influence of cannabis.

This week, the paper summarizing these findings—“EEG Biomarkers Acquired During a Short, Straight-line Simulated Drive Predict Impairment from Cannabis Intoxication”—was awarded the “Best Scientific Paper Award” at the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine’s (AAAM) Annual Scientific Conference.

Congratulations to authors Tim Brown, PhD, Christian Richard, Amir Meghdadi, Jared Poole, Abigail Fink, Marija Stevanović Karić, Marissa McConnell, Greg Rupp, Rose Schmitt, Gary Gaffney, MD, Gary Milavetz, PharmD, and Chris Berka.

“We’re honored that our colleagues in the field found so much value in our work in this area. I look forward to continuing our efforts to expand this research,” says Brown, lead author and director of drugged driving research at the National Advanced Driving Simulator.

Read the full manuscript in Traffic Injury Prevention.