In the last decade, the advancements in science and technology are mind-bending. It’s now possible to tell if your body’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) exceeds 0.08 percent just by using your smartphone. According to the study of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, scientists used smartphones’ accelerometer to detect the gait impairments caused by excessive use of alcohol.
This science allows people to evaluate real-time information regarding their alcohol intoxication, which can eventually help them to reduce alcohol consumption.
Dr. Brian P. Suffoletto, MD, the lead researcher of the study who works at the Department of Emergency Medicine of Stanford University School of Medicine, conducted this research with the panel of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He says that not only will it prevent drunk driving, but it will also prevent the probability of alerting sponsors for treatment purposes. Moreover, it’s also cost and time effective as compared to using the breathalyzer.
Smartphone vs. Breathalyzer
Undoubtedly the breathalyzer is an efficient and accurate way to detect alcohol intoxication levels in the body. It comes with a mouthpiece and a couple of chambers that contain liquids that are connected to the color change detecting meter. When a person exhales through the breathalyzer’s mouthpiece, then the color of the liquid changes and turns green. The change of color is directly proportional to the subject’s level of alcohol intoxication.
But the fact of the matter is that not a fraction of people carry a breathalyzer with them. Moreover, if your smartphone is able to achieve the same purpose, there’s no need to buy an extra device and carry it with you because the same technology can be located in a smartphone.
Dr. Suffoletto Views
Dr. Suffoletto says that we have intelligent devices with powerful sensors that we carry with us all the time. He adds that we just need to learn effective methods to utilize these devices in order to serve public health in the best possible way.|
Dr. Suffoletto believes that the study is more than just academic research. He is determined that it will become viable sooner than we imagine. He says, “I lost a close friend to a drinking and driving crash in college. And as an emergency physician, I have taken care of scores of adults with injuries related to acute alcohol intoxication. Because of this, I have dedicated the past ten years to testing digital interventions to prevent deaths and injury related to excessive alcohol consumption.”
This Groundbreaking Technique Can Save Countless Lives
Using smartphones to warn people about their excessive use of alcohol can actually encourage them to take heed. The allowed legal limit of blood alcohol concentration in the United Stated while driving is 0.08 percent. In order to calculate the blood alcohol concentration level, the authorities use portable devices such as breathalyzers, but there are barriers to using them for people not in the presence of law enforcement.
Many people cannot or will not use it on a night out because of social stigma surrounding breathalyzers, and they are also expensive to purchase. Therefore, smartphones are the most efficient and effective alternative for that purpose.
According to a Statista report, 81 percent of people only in the United States own smartphones. That’s why using smartphones to check the alcohol level would be a viable option because almost all of them have sophisticated and intelligent sensors.
Alcohol Consumption and Effects
Although drinking is a widespread activity and countless people around the globe enjoy it in moderation, it still causes a significant number of direct and indirect health problems, injuries, and even death.
According to NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), alcohol is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States. Additionally, the average of women excessive drinking in Texas is more than the total US female drinking average.
Such women are recommended to visit the nearest 90-day residential rehab center for alcohol abuse for women in Texas to begin the process of breaking their addiction. The study also shows that about 5.8 percent of 18 years or above people have alcohol use disorder.
NOTE: People from Texas who need medical attention with their alcohol addiction should visit the inpatient alcohol addiction treatment center for men near Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
Alcohol addiction is not something that anyone should take lightly because over 88,000 people die of the health problems caused by alcohol in the United States each year. It can also impede motor and cognitive performance that affects the ability to move firmly and to think clearly in a controlled manner.
Not only does it increase the chances of harming oneself, but a drunk person can also cause mortal injuries to other people. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) report, 29 percent of the deaths caused by road accidents involved drunk drivers in 2018.
In light of these statistics, the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs research could help people take more care when they are drunk. Until then, people from Texas are advised to visit the best 24/7 medical detox program for alcohol in North Texas.
The study conducted in 2016 used machine learning algorithms to detect if the person was inebriated. But the recent study is regarding the smartphone sensors that can detect the gait impairments to evaluate if the subject is drunk or not. Below is the overview of the present study and its groundbreaking results.
Over the course of five months, scientists enlisted 22 adults for a controlled research facility study. These participants were selected through local advertisements and word of mouth for an investigation to analyze the impacts of liquor on psychomotor skills. Scientists directed an underlying screen by phone to guarantee that the participants were at least 21 years of age. Then they were asked to consume liquor at least once a week.
Approved members at that point through appointments visited the research facility for a seven hours session. They were instructed to abstain from all the psychoactive drugs and alcohol for 24 hours before their meeting. Additionally, the members were also asked to avoid consuming caffeine for at least 4 hours prior to the session.
On the day of the session, scientists screened all the participants face to face for their age verification through drivers’ license. Medical experts examined their health histories and excluded people with peptic ulcer problems and hepatic or renal impairment. Moreover, all the women participants who were breastfeeding or pregnant were also excluded after testing their urine samples.
All the qualified participants were presented to the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Emergency Medicine Applied Physiology Lab at 8 am. Scientists informed the participants about the whole procedure with its legalities, scientific research methods, and ensured participants were able to provide informed consent to the study.
Then investigators provide the participants with a questionnaire having different questions regarding alcohol, including AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification) questions. After they completed the questionnaire, investigators measured their height and body weight along with the intravenous line for blood alcohol measurement.
Alcohol Used for The Experiment
In order to achieve the goal peak BrAC (Breath Alcohol Concentration) .20 percent, investigators used an oral ethanol dosing. The formula of this liquor was different for men and women. They mixed lime juice and vodka with simple syrup and provided it to the participants according to the standard procedure. Participants had to finish that alcohol within one hour.
Once all the participants had finished their drinks, the investigators began to examine them. The examination continued for seven long hours in which all the participants were tested after every half an hour. The investigators took the BrAC samples, and after seven hours, participants left the laboratory.
Participants also completed their walking trials for seven times (one trial each hour) in the seven hours of examination. Investigators placed the smartphones on the lower backside of the participants using the elastic belts. Investigators then asked each participant to walk normally in a straight line back and forth for ten steps on a carpeted but unlined surface.
While the participants were walking, the investigators and scientists recorded the data from their smartphone’s accelerometer using the Phyphox App. Upon completing each walking trial, the investigators removed the smartphone from the elastic belt and downloaded the recorded data on a safe and secure file.
The measurements and results of this experiment were groundbreaking in the field.
The scientists used the BrAC threshold of 0.08 percent because of the intoxication of the selected liquor classifier. The scientists used this classifier because it’s more of a standard one as it has been used for many acute alcohol effects studies, specifically in a psychomotor activity. Moreover, BrAC 0.08 percent is also the standard legal limit in the United States for adult motor vehicle drivers.
Gait Feature Measurement
The app used the smartphone sensors that recorded the linear acceleration at 100 Hz frequency from all three dimensions corresponding to anteroposterior, vertical, and mediolateral directions. Scientists labeled the data of the accelerometer time series into walk ahead, make a turn, and walk back segments.
In order to validate the values of BrAC that scientists collected, they used correlation coefficient techniques, used to determine the strength of the relation between two or more values, to compare it with BAC values. They explored the association and correlation of individual properties such as sex, age, AUDIT, and other determinants using different regression models.
77 percent of the participants provided one or more prominent gait measurement when their BrAC was higher than 0.08 percent. The mean age of all the participants was about 28 years. The youngest participant was 21 years, and the oldest one was 43 years old. All of them were non-Hispanic and white, and approximately 70 percent of them were men. Four participants met the risky drinking criteria with a score between 7-15, and the mean AUDIT score was (SD = 2.8). The mean height of the participants was 68 inches, with the mean weight of 76 kilograms.
The results of BrAC greater than 0.08 percent prediction across all the participants was an astounding 92.5 percent accurate. It was calculated using different models, and the least accuracy that any model calculated was 88.2 percent. It was surprising for the investigators because they could successfully use a smartphone app in order to determine the exceeding legal limit of BrAC.
As the results of this laboratory experiment have demonstrated a rate of over 90 percent accuracy, Dr. Brian Suffoletto says that now we can use phones to identify signs of gait impairments.
For now, the experiment did have some limitations, and the most significant one being that a person can’t keep the smartphone strapped to or hung on their back all the time. Plus, if a person puts the phone in their pocket or bag, it will certainly affect the quality of the app’s results.
Moreover, the study is conducted only on the BrAC (breath alcohol concentration) and not on the BAC (blood alcohol concentration). The BrAC is 15 percent lower than BAC on average, so the legal limit for BrAC should be 0.068 percent, which was not the case while conducting the experiment.
The limitations of the study don’t mean that it’s of no use. In fact, it will lead to more efficient research and techniques to use smartphones as a standard machine for the purpose of measuring intoxication in a non-invasive manner.
Dr. Brian Suffoletto imagines a world where smartphones will alert people if they drink to risky levels. He further adds that it is completely achievable in the next five years. If you are currently suffering from alcohol addiction, you should visit a long-term Christian rehab center for drug and alcohol addiction in Texas.