(HealthDay News) — For older adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), intranasal insulin (INI) may have positive effects on cognition and gait, according to a study published online April 28 in the Journal of Neurology.

Vera Novak, PhD, MD, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a phase 2, randomized, double-blinded trial consisting of 24 weeks of treatment with INI or placebo once daily and 24 weeks of follow-up. A total of 223 older adults with (DM) and without T2DM (controls) were included (51 DM-INI, 55 DM-placebo, 58 control-INI, and 59 control-placebo); 174 completed treatment and 156 completed follow-up. The primary outcomes included cognition, normal walking speed (NW), and dual-task (DTW) walking speed.

The researchers found that compared with DM-placebo, DM-INI had faster NW, but not DTW, on-treatment. Compared with control-placebo, control-INI had better executive functioning on-treatment and posttreatment, and better verbal memory posttreatment. Faster walking and better executive function and verbal memory were seen for INI (combined DM-INI and control-INI groups). There was no association observed between INI and serious adverse events, hypoglycemic episodes, or weight gain.

“Overall, INI effect demonstrated improvements of walking speed, executive function, and verbal memory,” the authors write. “These findings are clinically relevant and warrant further investigation in a larger clinical trial.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to medical device and pharmaceutical companies, including Novo Nordisk, which manufactures INI and partially funded the study.

Abstract/Full Text