Sep 12, 2011

Intranasal Insulin Shows Some Benefits in Alzheimer's and Mild Cognitive Impairment

"We believe that restoring normal insulin function in the brain may provide therapeutic benefits to adults with Alzheimer's. Intranasal administration enables insulin to access brain regions that are compromised in Alzheimer's."

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Suzanne Craft
What goes around, around comes around.

Last July, I published the information below about the use of insulin for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Today my alert inbox is filling up with stories from the New York Times, Reuters, MSNBC, CNN you name it. As far as I can tell this is related back to publication of the study in the journal Archives of Neurology.

When I first published this information I wrote, "I noticed that this is a very popular story on the Internet. Lots of tweeting on this one".

You have to admit, the idea of sniffing insulin is pretty catchy. It appears the studies investigators are still seeking funding to move this to a Phase 3 clinical trial.

Also see:



Here is a link to the current clinical trial, SNIFF 120: Study of Nasal Insulin to Fight Forgetfulness. Also, very catchy. The study is no longer recruiting new participants, but is still listed as ongoing.

I suppose some Alzheimer's caregivers might be tempted to try this on their own. I don't think that would be a good idea. You could end up doing more damage than good.

If you read all the way down to the end, you will also notice that the lead investigator, Suzanne Craft, presented this information at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, July, 2010.

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Clinical Trial of Intranasal Insulin Shows Some Benefits in Alzheimer's and Mild Cognitive Impairment, July, 2010

Previous research has strongly suggested that Alzheimer's and diabetes/insulin resistance are closely related. For example, Alzheimer's is associated with reduced brain insulin signaling and low levels of insulin in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

"These deficiencies may reduce or eliminate insulin's beneficial roles in the brain," said Suzanne Craft, PhD, of VA Puget Sound Health Care System/University of Washington in Seattle. "We believe that restoring normal insulin function in the brain may provide therapeutic benefits to adults with Alzheimer's. Intranasal administration enables insulin to access brain regions that are compromised in Alzheimer's."

Craft and colleagues had previously shown enhanced cognition and daily functioning in adults with MCI and early Alzheimer's using intranasal insulin treatment for 21 days. This new study expanded the time frame to four months, during which 109 participants with MCI or Alzheimer's received either placebo, or 20 or 40 IU daily intranasal insulin treatment.

The researchers found that in the 20 IU dose group (10 IU twice daily) results on a test of delayed story recall significantly improved compared with those who received placebo, as did functional status measured by the Dementia Severity Rating Scale. Improvements in delayed memory recall persisted for two months after the insulin treatment ended. However, memory and learning on the ADAS-Cog and ability to do activities of daily living measured by the ADCS-ADL scores were unchanged.

For 15 of the insulin-treated participants who agreed to have a spinal tap, improved memory and functional status were associated with an improved Alzheimer's biomarker profile as reflected by a lowered CSF tau/Aβ42 ratio.

"These results provide encouraging support for further study of intranasal insulin as a therapy for Alzheimer's," Craft said. "We are currently planning a large, multi-center clinical trial."

--Suzanne Craft, et al. Intranasal Insulin- And Biomarker-associated Improvement In Memory And Functional Status In Mild Cognitive Impairment And Alzheimer's Disease: Results Of A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Pilot Trial. (Funded by: Department of Veterans Affairs, National Institute on Aging)

Source PR Newswire

About AAICAD

The Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (AAICAD) brings together 4,000 researchers from around the world to report and discuss groundbreaking research and information on the cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. As a part of the Alzheimer's Association's research program, AAICAD serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia and fostering a vital, collegial research community.

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 2,940 articles with more than 611,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room