Study evaluates intranasal insulin therapy for adults with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's

September 12, 2011

Intranasal insulin therapy appears to provide some benefit for cognitive function in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease, according to a report published Online First today by Archives of Neurology.

According to background information in the article, insulin plays a role in a number of functions of the central nervous system. "The importance of insulin in normal brain function is underscored by evidence that insulin dysregulation contributes to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer disease (AD), a disorder characterized in its earliest stages by synaptic loss and memory impairment," the authors write. " and insulin activity in the central nervous system are reduced in AD."

Suzanne Craft, Ph.D., of the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, and colleagues conducted a to evaluate the effects of intranasal insulin therapy on cognition, function, cerebral and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in adults with amnestic (aMCI) or AD.

Study participants were randomized into one of three treatment groups, with 36 participants receiving 20 IU (international unit) of insulin daily, 38 receiving 40 IU of insulin daily, and 30 participants receiving placebo daily for four months. All treatments were administered using a nasal drug delivery device. The authors evaluated the effects of treatment on delayed story recall (how well participants could recall a story told to them immediately after, and after a short time lapse) and the Dementia Severity Rating Scale (DSRS) scores of participants.

Compared with participants in the placebo-controlled group, those receiving 20 IU of insulin daily showed improved delayed story recall, however no improvement was observed for participants receiving 40 IU of insulin. Also, compared with the , DSRS scores were preserved for both groups. Both insulin doses also appeared to preserve general cognition for younger participants as assessed by the Alzheimer Disease's Assessment Scale–cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) score as well as functional abilities in adults with AD as assessed by scores on the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study–activities of daily living (ADCS-ADL) scale. Conversely, participants with aMCI showed no change regardless of treatment assignment and participants in the placebo-controlled group showed a slight decline overall in function.

"In conclusion, the results of our pilot trial demonstrate that the administration of intranasal insulin stabilized or improved cognition, function and cerebral glucose metabolism for adults with aMCI or AD," the authors write. "Taken together, these results provide an impetus for future clinical trials of intranasal and for further mechanistic studies of insulin's role in the pathogenesis of AD."

Explore further: Dietary changes appear to affect levels of biomarkers associated with Alzheimer's disease

More information: Arch Neurol. Published online September 12, 2011. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.233

Related Stories

Dietary changes appear to affect levels of biomarkers associated with Alzheimer's disease

June 13, 2011
Following a low–saturated fat and low–glycemic index diet appears to modulate the risk of developing dementia that proceeds to Alzheimer's disease (AD), although making a switch to this dietary pattern may not protect ...

Study finds older adults with mild cognitive impairment may also have some functional impairment

June 6, 2011
Difficulty remembering important dates and medications, and gathering paperwork, is more common in older individuals with mild cognitive impairment than in those with no cognition problems, according to a report in the June ...

Recommended for you

Scientists reveal new avenue for drug treatment in neuropathic pain

November 24, 2017
New research from King's College London has revealed a previously undiscovered mechanism of cellular communication, between neurons and immune cells, in neuropathic pain.

Small but distinct differences among species mark evolution of human brain

November 23, 2017
The most dramatic divergence between humans and other primates can be found in the brain, the primary organ that gives our species its identity.

Team constructs whole-brain map of electrical connections key to forming memories

November 22, 2017
A team of neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania has constructed the first whole-brain map of electrical connectivity in the brain based on data from nearly 300 neurosurgical patients with electrodes implanted ...

To forget or to remember? Memory depends on subtle brain signals, scientists find

November 22, 2017
The fragrance of hot pumpkin pie can bring back pleasant memories of holidays past, while the scent of an antiseptic hospital room may cause a shudder. The power of odors to activate memories both pleasing and aversive exists ...

Pitch imperfect? How the brain decodes pitch may improve cochlear implants

November 22, 2017
Picture yourself with a friend in a crowded restaurant. The din of other diners, the clattering of dishes, the muffled notes of background music, the voice of your friend, not to mention your own – all compete for your ...

New research suggests high-intensity exercise boosts memory

November 22, 2017
The health advantages of high-intensity exercise are widely known but new research from McMaster University points to another major benefit: better memory.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.