Intranasal insulin improves memory

pte20220503002 Medicine/Wellness, Research/Development

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers with therapy for cognitive decline in the elderly

Insulin spray: May improve memory in older people (Photo: Thorsten Frenzel, pixabay.com)

Boston/Cambridge (pte002/05/03/2022/06:05) –

Insulin given by nasal spray improves verbal memory and therefore may be a promising treatment for cognitive decline in the elderly. That’s what doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) http://bidmc.org found out. They studied the long-term effects of intranasal insulin (INI) on cognition and gait in people with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Better verbal memory

“MemAID”, a phase 2 randomized controlled clinical trial, provided evidence that INIs increase walking speed and improve cerebral blood flow. In people without diabetes, there are improvements in decision-making and verbal memory. According to the findings, published in the Journal of Neurology, intranasal insulin should be further evaluated for its potential use as a treatment for type 2 diabetes and age-related functional decline.

“Gait speed is an important clinical predictor of well-being in older adults, correlating with cognitive decline, hospitalizations, disability, and death,” said Vera Novak of BIDMC’s Department of Neurology and Associate Professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School http://hms.harvard.edu. “At baseline, participants with diabetes walked slower and had poorer cognition than participants without diabetes, which served as a clinical benchmark for a normally aging population.”

Half received a targeted placebo

Novak and his team recruited 223 participants aged 50 to 85 with and without diabetes and assessed their running speed, attention, memory and executive functioning, and mood using various tests. Half of the participants with diabetes and the other half without diabetes were treated with insulin administered intranasally via an electronic nebulizer once daily. In a double-blind study, the other participants received an inactive placebo (sterile saline solution) also administered intranasally.

After 24 weeks of treatment, participants with diabetes who received INIs had faster walking speeds during and after treatment than participants with diabetes who received placebos. INI-treated diabetic participants also showed increased cerebral blood flow in the frontal lobe, while INI-treated participants without diabetes showed improved decision-making and verbal memory. Taken together, participants treated with INI, with and without type 2 diabetes, demonstrated faster walking and better executive function, as well as better memory, with those with prediabetes showing the most notable improvements in taking decision-making and verbal memory.

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