Feb 27, 2009

Alzheimer's nose spray: New Alzheimer's treatment?


Is an insulin nose spray a new treatment for Alzheimer's?
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Insulin — a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar — appears to play a role in normal memory processes. Insulin irregularities may contribute to cognitive and brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Research in the past few years has been investigating the use of insulin to treat Alzheimer's disease.

One of the challenges is how to provide insulin in such a way that it improves brain function without disrupting your blood sugar levels. If you blood sugar drops too low, for example, it can create complications such as confusion, heart palpitations, anxiety and visual disturbances.

  • Preliminary research suggests that when taken as a nose spray, insulin reaches the brain within a few minutes, improving memory without affecting blood sugar or insulin levels. 
  • This research involved only 26 participants who had either early Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment. 

Although this research is promising, more research on the safety and effectiveness of intranasal insulin therapy for Alzheimer's disease is necessary.

A phase II clinical trial on the use of inhaled insulin to treat Alzheimer's disease is currently under way. I
t will involve about 90 participants who have Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment and is due to be completed in August of 2009.

Here is the link to the clinical trial--Study of Nasal Insulin to Fight Forgetfulness

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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room