Insulin could have lasting results in improving memory, new study finds

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Alzheimer's Society-care industry newsInsulin delivered high up in the nasal cavity goes to affected areas of the brain with lasting results in improving memory, according to researchers at the UW Medicine, Veteran’s Administration Puget Sound and Saint Louis University.

The study, published online (30 July 2015) in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, looked at mice aged 8-12 months who did not remember whether objects they were presented to play with were new or old. Researchers said after a single dose of intranasal insulin they could remember which objects they had seen before.

Dr Ian Le Guillou, Alzheimer’s Society’s Research Officer said: “We know that insulin is important to ensure the healthy functioning of brain cells, but this process is disrupted in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Providing insulin through the nose is a promising potential treatment but there is still a lot we don’t know about how it acts in the body. This study looked at how nasally-delivered insulin behaves in mice, but it remains to be seen if this will also apply to humans.

“As we have learnt more about the importance of insulin resistance in Alzheimer’s disease, it has become a popular area of research. Alzheimer’s Society is currently part-funding a trial into the diabetes drug liraglutide for people with mild Alzheimer’s disease, which we hope will result in a new treatment for the condition.”

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