Measuring Fatigue Levels

Since 2006, a prime focus of Hyperion Biotechnology’s R&D effort has been the development of novel methods for the measurement of fatigue. While our initial interest was driven by the needs of the US Department of Defense, we quickly realized how broad this need was. Potential applications can be imagined in amateur and professional sports, medicine and risk management, just to name a few fields. Specific examples range from guiding the training schedule of athletes to selecting the optimal work schedule and/or workload for individual employees. Our novel approach to measuring fatigue has been published in peer-reviewed journals (see links below). We have also received three patent awards to date (see links below), while additional patent applications are pending.

How do we measure fatigue?

From the beginning, our goal was to develop a method of measuring fatigue non-invasively, i.e. without requiring a subject to be poked, probed or bled. Therefore, in our early research studies, we focused on changes in the composition of saliva that accompany changes in fatigue level. The details of our testing method were published in 2012 (see link below). Hyperion’s saliva-based method allows for quick, easy and painless collection of samples, thereby allowing for longitudinal monitoring of fatigue level with little burden on the subject.

Why is it important to measure fatigue?

Generally, fatigue is associated with poor human performance. Optimizing human performance requires not only understanding the importance of mitigating fatigue, but also a commitment to tracking fatigue levels objectively. Humans do a poor job of accurately reporting their fatigue level, and in many situations, there is an incentive to not report fatigue level accurately. Is a star athlete really willing to be honest about fatigue level on the day of the big game? Only objective measures of fatigue can provide the quantitative data needed to optimize performance and make unbiased decisions.

Workplace Safety and Productivity

Employees’ fatigue levels may lead to loss of productivity and safety issues in job performance. Fatigued workers pose a risk to themselves and the company. Whether caused by shift-work, long hours, mental stress, or jobs that involve driving or operating machinery, high fatigue levels are a safety concern.

Optimizing Human Performance

Conditioning is an important part of physical training programs for both amateur and elite athletes. With proper conditioning, individuals can perform at maximum capacity while avoiding injuries. A fatigue monitoring program can help guide effective training and performance schedules by systematically monitoring athletes’ fatigue level. Hyperion’s fatigue testing can guide athletic training, military training, and other programs where the connection between fatigue level and performance naturally leads to better overall outcomes.

With effective methods to measure fatigue levels objectively, Hyperion can help to guide a variety of activities, thereby helping both individuals and organizations attain optimal performance.

Protecting Athletes Against Muscle Injury

Hyperion has developed some novel biomarker based technology to measure muscle stress. It is important to realize that muscles get stronger only when they are stressed. Thus some increase should occur during strength training and during competition. However, too much stress is a prelude to injury. By monitoring muscle stress non-invasively with a saliva test, athletes optimize their strength training while also avoiding serious muscle damage.


Michael DJ, Valle B, Cox J, Kalns JE, Fogt, DL. (2013) “Salivary biomarkers of physical fatigue as markers of sleep deprivation.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 9:1325-1331.

Michael DJ, Daugherty S, Santos A, Ruby BC, Kalns JE. (2012) “Fatigue biomarker index: An objective salivary measure of fatigue level.” Accident Analysis and Prevention. 45S:68-73

Fogt DL, Cooke WH, Kalns JK, Michael DJ. (2011) “Linear mixed-effects modeling of relationship between heart rate variability and fatigue arising from sleep deprivation.” Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine 82:1104-1109

Kalns J, Baskin J, Reinert A, Michael DJ, Santos A, Daugherty S, Wright J. (2011) “Predicting success in the Tactical Air Combat Party (TACP) training pipeline.” Military Medicine 176:431-7.

Fogt DL, Kalns JE, Michael DJ. (2010) “A comparison of cognitive performance decreases during acute, progressive fatigue arising from different concurrent stressors.” Military Medicine 175:939-44.


“Method and Compositions for Biomarkers of Fatigue, Fitness and Physical Performance Capacity” (May 14, 2013) US Patent No. 8,442,808; Inventors: John E. Kalns and Darren J. Michael.

“Methods and Compositions for Biomarkers of Fatigue, Fitness and Physical Performance Capacity” (May 27, 2014) US Patent No. 8,738,338; Inventors: John E. Kalns and Darren J. Michael.

“Methods and Compositions for Biomarkers of Fatigue” (February 3, 2015) US Patent No. 8,945,854; Inventors: John E. Kalns and Darren J. Michael.