Researchers from the Forest Baptist Medical Center found that a man-made form of an insulin nasal spray may improve working memory and other mental capabilities in adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s dementia.

In this pilot study, 60 adults diagnosed with amnesic mild cognitive impairment or mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s dementia received 20 IU or 40 IU doses of insulin detemir intransally or a placebo. After 21 days, patients given the 40 IU doses exhibited significant improvement in their short-term ability to retain and process verbal and visual information vs. patients who were given 20 IU doses or a placebo. Of the patients who received the 40 IU doses, those carrying the APOE-e4 gene (which increases risk of Alzheimer’s dementia) had significantly higher memory scores vs. those who received the 20 IU or placebo; non-carriers in all 3 groups had significantly lower scores.

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Other clinical trials had found favorable effects of intranasal insulin for adults with Alzheimer’s dementia and mild cognitive impairment, but this study was the first to investigate insulin detemir, a longer-acting insulin than “regular” insulin.

These findings support additional studies on insulin detemir as potential treatment for Alzheimer’s dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

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