A new nasal spray has been shown to help people consolidate memories while they rest, which could have implications for the treatment of sleep disorders.
Led by staff from the department of neuroendocrinology at the University of Lubeck in Germany, the study - which appeared in the October 2009 edition of the FASEB Journal - involved a group of 17 young men.
The participants read either a neutral or emotional short story and had either a placebo liquid or interleukin-6, a molecule from the body's immune system, sprayed into their nostrils. They then had their brain's electrical activity monitored while they slept.
Those who were given the interleukin-6 were able to recall more words from the short story the next day, compared to those who received the placebo.
Lisa Marshall, co-author of the study, commented: "Sleep to remember, a dream or reality?"
In recent weeks, a study by staff at the University of Rochester Medical Center suggested that postmenopausal women who have sleep disorders could be helped by the drug gabapentin, which was originally intended to help manage seizures.