Unlocked Memories

*YAWN* Where’s my… what was I looking for again?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Ever get a bad night’s sleep and totally space on something important the next day? Like a great idea or… a wedding anniversary? Are those forgotten memories gone FOREVER? Can we get them back?

A team of researchers from the University of Groningen says YES! They claim that these memories aren’t REALLY lost, but locked away deep in our brains. Like putting old photos in a box and losing the key. 

So how do we unlock them? The scientists believe an asthma medication called roflumilast might help us recover these memories! They tested it on sleep deprived mice. The medicated mice had improved recall for finding objects the next day.

This might be the key to unlocking memories hidden by sleep deprivation. Scientists hope it could be used for Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders! 

Just don’t remind me my birthday’s coming up. How old am I now? Boo hoo… 


Bolsius, Y. G., Heckman, P. R. A., Paraciani, C., Wilhelm, S., Raven, F., Meijer, E. L., Kas, M. J. H., Ramirez, S., Meerlo, P., & Havekes, R. (2023). Recovering object-location memories after sleep deprivation-induced amnesia. Current Biology, 33(2). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2022.12.006