A man-made form of insulin delivered by nasal spray may improve
working memory and other mental capabilities in adults with mild cognitive
impairment and Alzheimer’s disease dementia, according to a pilot study led by
researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
study’s subjects were 60 adults diagnosed with amnesic mild cognitive
impairment (MCI) or mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia (AD). Those who
received nasally-administered 40 international unit (IU) doses of insulin detemir,
a manufactured form of the hormone, for 21 days showed significant improvement
in their short-term ability to retain and process verbal and visual information
compared with those who received 20 IU does or a placebo.
the recipients of 40 IU doses carrying the APOE-e4 gene – which is known to
increase the risk for Alzheimer’s – recorded significantly higher memory scores
than those who received the loser dosage or placebo, while non-carriers across
all three groups posted significantly lower scores.
trials had shown promising effects of nasally-administered insulin for adults
with AD and MCI, but this study was the first to use insulin detemir, whose
effects are longer-lasting than those of “regular” insulin.
study provides preliminary evidence that insulin detemir can provide effective
treatment for people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and
Alzheimer’s-related dementia similar to our previous work with regular insulin,”
said Suzanne Craft, Ph.D., professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at
Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study, which is published online in advance of the February issue of the
Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. “We are also especially
encouraged that we were able to improve memory for adults with MCI who have the
APOE-e4 gene, as these patients are notoriously resistant to other therapies
researchers also sought to determine if the insulin detemir doses would cause
any negative side effects, and found only minor adverse reactions among the subjects.
study’s overall results support further investigation of the therapeutic value
of insulin detemir as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative
diseases, Craft said.
is a devastating illness, for which even small therapeutic gains have the
potential to improve quality of life and significantly reduce the overall
burden for patients, families and society,” she said. “Future studies are
warranted to examine the safety and efficacy of this promising treatment.”
research was support by National Institute of Aging grants P50 AG05136 and T32
AG000258 and the Department of Veteran Affairs.
For additional information on clinical trials in the Alzheimer's Disease Prevention Program call 336-716-MIND (6463) or go to www.WakeHealth.edu/Alzheimers.
are Laura Baker, Ph.D., Wake Forest Baptist; Amy Claxton, Ph.D., Angela Hanson,
M.D., Emily H. Trittschuh, Ph.D., Amy Morgan, R.N., Maureen Callaghan, M.D.,
and Colin Behl, B.S., Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System and
University of Washington School of Medicine; Brenna Cholerton, Ph.D.,
University of Washington School of Medicine; and Matthew Arbuckle, Oregon
Health Sciences University.