Sleeping pills could actually IMPROVE your memory, claims controversial new research.




  • Researchers claim that the zolpidem in some sleeping pills enhances the brain’s ability to build-up memories
  • They say the findings could help in the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Contradicts previous research which found the drug may actually CAUSE memory loss




Taking sleeping tablets could help improve your memory, according to controversial new research.


A team of researchers claim to have discovered the mechanism that enables the brain to build-up memories – and say they found that a commonly prescribed sleeping tablet containing zolpidem enhances this process.


They hope the discovery could lead to new sleep therapies that could improve memory for ageing adults and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.


The findings contradict a wealth of previous research that has suggested that sleeping pills can have devastating effects on health, including memory.


The new research claims to have demonstrated, for the first time, the critical role that sleep spindles play in consolidating memory in the hippocampus.


Sleep spindles are bursts of brain activity that last for a second or less during sleep.


Earlier research found a link between sleep spindles and the consolidation of memories that depend on the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is involved in memory forming, organising, and storing.


The research team say they showed that the drugs could significantly improve that process, far more than sleep alone.


Lead author of the study, Dr Sara Mednick, a psychologist from the University of California Riverside, said: ‘We found that a very common sleep drug can be used to increase memory.


‘This is the first study to show you can manipulate sleep to improve memory.


‘It suggests sleep drugs could be a powerful tool to tailor sleep to particular memory disorders.’


But previous research has suggested that sleeping pills taken by more than a million Britons significantly increase the risk of dementia.


Pensioners who used benzodiazepines – which include temazepam and diazepam – are 50 per cent more likely to succumb to the devastating illness, a Harvard University study found.


They work by changing the way messages are transmitted to the brain, which induces a calming effect but scientists believe that at the same time they may be interfering with chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, which may be causing dementia.


The new study tested normal sleepers, who were given varying doses of sleeping pills and placebos, allowing several days between doses to allow the drugs to leave their bodies.


Researchers monitored their sleep, measured sleepiness and mood after napping, and used several tests to evaluate their memory.


They found that zolpidem significantly increased the density of sleep spindles and improved verbal memory consolidation.


Dr Mednick said: ‘Zolpidem enhanced sleep spindles in healthy adults producing exceptional memory performance beyond that seen with sleep alone or sleep with the comparison drug.


‘The results set the stage for targeted treatment of memory impairments as well as the possibility of exceptional memory improvement above that of a normal sleep period.’


Dr Mednick also hopes to study the impact of zolpidem on older adults who experience poor memory because individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia and schizophrenia are known experience decreases in sleep spindles.


Dr Mednick, who began studying sleep in the early 2000s, says sleep is a very new field of research and its importance is generally not taught in medical schools.


‘We know very little about it,’ she said.


‘We do know that it affects behaviour, and we know that sleep is integral to a lot of disorders with memory problems.


‘We need to integrate sleep into medical diagnoses and treatment strategies. This research opens up a lot of possibilities.’






Intravesical penile implant reservoir: case report, literature review, and strategies for prevention.

To present a case of intravesical erosion of an infected multiple-component inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP) reservoir. We retrospectively reviewed a case of complete intravesical erosion of an infected IPP reservoir. We also reviewed the prior urologic literature concerning bladder-related reservoir complications, and formulated potential strategies to prevent these complications in the future. This patient was successfully managed with complete explantation of the cylinders and pump, along with cystotomy, intravesical reservoir removal and cystorraphy. Several months later, he was successfully reimplanted with a multiple-component IPP, and, with 7 months follow-up, has had no further complications. Management of intravesical placement or erosion of an IPP reservoir should be tailored to the clinical scenario. In cases with peri-prosthetic infection and subsequent intravesical reservoir erosion, complete explantation and delayed subsequent reimplantation has been successful. Inadvertent intravesical reservoir placement has been successfully managed via immediate cystotomy, reservoir repositioning and cystorraphy. Reservoir insertion via a counter-incision, an infrapubic approach and under direct vision can avoid this complication. Bladder laceration during reservoir reinflation has been successfully managed with cystorraphy and reservoir repositioning.

Source: International Journal of Impotence Research


Family-Witnessed CPR Associated with Better Psychological Outcomes.

Giving family members the choice to observe out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a loved one might reduce psychological stress, according to a New England Journal of Medicinestudy.

Nearly 600 family members of people undergoing out-of-hospital CPR in France were either routinely asked (intervention) or not asked (control) if they wanted to be present during CPR. At 90 days, the control group had a higher prevalence of PTSD-related symptoms than the intervention group (37% vs. 27%). Interference by family members was rare, and there were no lawsuits.

Editorialists, noting that the intervention included a well-scripted protocol, conclude: “It would be imprudent to adopt this strategy into clinical practice without a similar commitment to training and staffing emergency response teams and without an understanding of the cost-effectiveness.”

Source: NEJM 





Circulating Tumor DNA Tracks Metastatic Breast Cancer in Proof-of-Concept Study.

A small study — deemed “more encouraging than definitive” by commentators — shows that circulating DNA from breast tumors can be used to track progression in metastatic breast cancer.

Researchers monitored the tumor burden of 30 women with metastatic disease with use of radiographic imaging plus assays of circulating tumor DNA, circulating tumor cells, and the cancer antigen CA 15-3.

Circulating tumor DNA was found in 29 of the 30 women with identifiable mutations. The sensitivity of the assays for CA 15-3 (78%) and circulating tumor cells (87%) was lower. Increasing levels of circulating DNA and tumor cells both correlated with inferior survival.

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, editorialists say the work “provides proof of the concept that circulating tumor DNA represents a sensitive biomarker of tumor burden” — and call for further studies.

Source: NEJM 

Breast Irradiation and Increased Risk for Ischemic Heart Disease: New Data Emerge.

A case-control study in the New England Journal of Medicine provides new information on the link between breast irradiation and increased risk for ischemic heart disease.

Using national registries, researchers in Sweden and Denmark studied nearly 2200 women who underwent radiotherapy for breast cancer between 1958 and 2001; roughly 1000 who subsequently had a major coronary event were matched with 1200 controls.

The rate of coronary events increased with the mean estimated dose of radiation to the heart. The risk increase was observed within 5 years after treatment and lasted for at least 20 years. The absolute risk for coronary events was particularly high for women who had preexisting cardiac risk factors.

In Journal Watch Oncology and Hematology, William Gradishar concludes: “Efforts to provide women with the option of breast conservation should not be abandoned, but for select women with very significant cardiac risk factors … a mastectomy might be a better option.”

Source: NEJM 


Neuroenhancement of Kids ‘Not Justifiable,’ Neurology Groups Say.

Neuroenhancement — the use of prescription drugs (e.g., stimulants) by healthy people in order to increase normal brain function — “is not justifiable” for children without diagnosed neurological disorders, according to a new position paper published in Neurology.

The paper also notes that for “nearly autonomous” adolescents, neuroenhancement is “inadvisable because of numerous social, developmental, and professional integrity issues.”

The authors offer a series of discussion points to guide physicians’ conversations with parents who request neuroenhancement medications for healthy children and teens.

The position paper is endorsed by the American Academy of Neurology, Child Neurology Society, and American Neurological Association.

Source: Neurology