This prescribed drug is shown to restore lost memories in mice: ScienceAlert
A name on the tip of your tongue. That vague feeling when the truth you learned only yesterday has become so elusive. Retrieving memories and anecdotes of information can be stressful at the best of times, and it can be even more challenging when you’re sleep-deprived.
But what if there was a way to reverse sleep-deprived amnesia and restore those flimsy memories?
A new study in mice suggests that “forgotten” memories can be recovered days later, by activating specific brain cells or using a drug commonly used in treating humans. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a group of diseases that affect the lungs and airways, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.
This may sound crazy, but not so much when you consider what memories are like Somehow It is chemically encoded in brain cells.
And while the possibility of this being replicated in humans is somewhat fanciful, the study does reveal a thing or two about the new memories we thought we lost on our sleepless nights.
previous search Show how even short periods of sleep deprivation affect memory processes, altering protein levels and the structure of brain cells. But researchers still aren’t sure if the lack of sleep impairs how we store information, making it difficult to access it later, or if newly formed memories are lost entirely when we haven’t slept.
This was the first question that University of Groningen neuroscientist Robert Hackes and colleagues set out to answer, using rats that were deprived of sleep for 6 hours after examining a cage with several objects.
Days later, the animals failed to detect that an object had been moved to a new position—unless some neurons were in it Hippocampusa subliminal brain region that stores spatial information and consolidates memories, was activated using light.
This shows that mice can remember where the original objects are, if neurons in the hippocampus that encode this information are fired. The information was, in fact, stored in the brain, but it is difficult to retrieve. Explain Chavez.
The findings suggest that memories thought to be ‘lost’ may still exist in an inaccessible state that can be retrieved artificially, at least in mice.
But the technology used to do this, Optogeneticsis an experimental approach that requires genetic modification (to make cells sensitive to light) and as such, is still a long way from being used in humans.
To try more in mice with a less invasive method, the researchers turned to a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drug called Roflumilast. Among the pharmaceutical’s diverse effects is increasing levels of a specific cell signaling molecule dwindles When memory weakens due to lack of sleep.
“When we gave the sleep-deprived trained rats roflumilast before the second test, they remembered, just like with direct stimulation of neurons,” Says Chavez.
Memory recovery effects with roflumilast were evident 5 days after the initial training, and even longer when both medication and photoactivation were used.
While Havekes and his team’s work focuses on unraveling the molecular mechanisms of memory and how it is retrieved, their new research raises some longstanding questions about how memories — the rich sensory fingerprints of past experiences that color our lives — are encoded in the squishy brain tissue.
For centuries, scientists have pondered and then searched for networks of brain cells in which they believed distinct memories were stored. named engramsThe connectivity and strength of these networks is believed to be key to storing memories.
The existence of engrams as a basic unit of memory has sometimes been questioned. But engram memory research had it last emission Now that scientists have the right tool to manipulate individual groups of brain cells: optogenetics.
Using optogenetics, the researchers evoked fear-related “freeze” responses in mice by reactivating a subset of hippocampal neurons that were active during a previous fearful experience.
They did too False memory seed that caused rats to fear foot shock in the absence of environmental cues and even Stimulate memory recall in amnesic mice serving as an early model Alzheimer’s disease Illness.
Although it’s still so far in the realms of animal studies, the long-term goal of this type of research is to understand how information is acquired, stored, and recalled in humans—and maybe one day to find a way to help people. whose memory recall has been impaired.
“At the moment, this is all speculation, of course, but time will tell,” Hafeks Says.
The study has been published in Current Biology.