Insulin for Alzheimer's

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A synthetic form of insulin improves the symptoms of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease.

American researchers have developed an effective treatment for people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's-related dementia. It is a synthetic form of insulin, which is administered through a nasal spray, and that improves working memory and other cognitive abilities in people suffering from this type of dementia.

Previous studies had already shown the promising effects of intranasally administered insulin for adults with Alzheimer's dementia or amnesic mild cognitive impairment. But these trials used regular insulin, which has a shorter half-life than other insulin analogs like insulin detemir.

Insulin detemir is a man-made version of long-acting human insulin. Insulin detemir works by replacing the insulin normally produced by the body and by helping glucose from the blood pass into the body's cells, where it is used for energy.

The new study, published in the prestigious scientific journal Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, examined the effects of insulin detemir nasal spray in 60 adults diagnosed with mild amnesic cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). Study participants were given randomly intranasally for 21 days: 20 IU (international units) or 40 IU of insulin determir, or a placebo.

The results showed that the group that received 40 units of the insulin nasal spray had a significant improvement in your short-term ability to retain and process verbal and visual information compared to those who received 20 or a placebo. In addition, they recorded significantly higher memory scores.

Patients with the APOE-e4 gene, a gene known to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, who received 40 IUs also had significant improvements in memory, compared to those who received lower doses or the placebo. An important point of this study, since these patients are very resistant to other therapies and interventions.

Claxton A, Baker LD, Hanson A, Trittschuh EH, Cholerton B, Morgan A, et al. Journal of Alsheimer’s Disease (2015). More information.

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Video: Mayo Clinic Minute: Is Alzheimers Type 3 diabetes?


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