Insulin Nasal Spray May Help Treat Alzheimer's Disease, Study Shows

First Posted: Jan 09, 2015 06:19 PM EST

Could an insulin nasal spray play a key role in treating Alzheimer's disease? Recent findings published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease have shown that there may be a promising new treatment in the form of this medical device.

Statistics show that every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease; that's over 5 million Americans who are living with the most common form of dementia. This cognitive degenerative illness is also responsible for about half a million deaths each year.

For the study, participants received 20 or 40 international units (IU) of insulin via a nasal drug delivery device. However, the team used the same device to deliver 20 or 40 IU of insulin detemir--a manufactured form of insulin that provides longer-lasting effects when compared with "regular" insulin.

For 21 days, 60 participants who had been diagnosed with MCI or mild moderate Alzheimer's disease received either 20 IU of a placebo or 20 or 40 IU of insulin detemir, which were administered via a nasal spray.

Findings revealed that participants who received 40 IU of insulin detemir had great improvements when it came to working memory and the ability to retain and process new information when compared with participants who received 20 IU of insulin detemir or the placebo.

Participants who did not have the APOE-e4 gene showed lower memory scores, regardless of whether they received a 20 or 40 IU dose of insulin detemir or the placebo.

Minor side-effects were associated with detemir. Yet further research will be needed in order to investigate the mechanisms that connect insulin detemir administration and improved cognition.

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