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Insulin Spray May Improve Alzheimer's Symptoms
Date:9/12/2011

ulin nor those taking the placebo showed improved story recall.

Also, results of a standard dementia test taken before and after the study showed no declines for either insulin group compared to the placebo takers.

The study authors also found that participants with Alzheimer's who got either dose of insulin had preserved function compared with people taking the placebo. The placebo group showed slight declines overall.

"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 [Alzheimer's disease]," Suzanne Craft, of the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and the University of Washington School of Medicine, and colleagues said in a journal news release.

More research is needed to see if insulin therapy can be recommended for staving off the symptoms of Alzheimer's, but the researchers are optimistic about the findings.

"Taken together, these results provide an impetus for future clinical trials of intranasal insulin therapy and for further mechanistic studies of insulin's role in the pathogenesis of AD," they wrote.

Dr. Sam Gandy, professor of neurology and psychiatry and director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in New York City, said the findings may lead to new avenues for treatment.

"Although this was considered to be an unconventional approach, the building basic science underpinnings now provide a clear plausible pathway to totally novel therapies for AD," Gandy said.

Insulin in the brain functions differently than in the rest of the body, he said, "so this story may be about the brain-specific role of insulin signaling and not necessarily about insulin's role in glucose uptake."

Trials are under way assessing insulin sensitizers such as metformin for Alzheimer's disease, Gandy noted. "This clinical suc
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