September 13th, 2011 at 10:15 am
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Can insulin slow the progression of Alzheimer’s?

by Carol Bursack

Good Morning America aired a segment this morning about a pilot study investigating the use of inhaled insulin as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. It has been long known that insulin may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, studies have shown that people with diabetes are at greater risk risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This study indicates that inhaled insulin shows promise as it improved short term memory and daily function in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Treating Alzheimer’s with diabetes drugs

Previously, I wrote a post about a researcher in Scotland who was studying the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s and realized anti-diabetes drugs could play a vital role in treating Alzheimer’s. The professor, Susan Schweiger is now studying Metformin–a popular diabetes-treating drug–to see if it has any success in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Today’s news about the new pilot study seems even more promising. Researchers discovered inhaled insulin impacts the brain growth factor which helps nerves work together. This intervention seems to slow some participants decline in loss of function, as well as improve memory function.

Much more research needs to be done before scientists can know exactly how much improvement this treatment can provide. However, the news is extremely encouraging, especially if additional research reveal the slowing of disease progression, if not actual reversal, is possible.

Inhaled insulin: An already safe drug provides hope

Again, this is a pilot study and there is more work to be done before doctors can start prescribing nasal insulin as a treatment for people with Alzheimer’s. However, I’m always excited when a drug that has already been proven safe for human use shows promise for use in Alzheimer’s treatment. That in itself eliminates what could be years of testing in order to obtain FDA approval.

Today’s news segment emphasized that while people wait to see the results of more research on inhaled insulin, they can do something to increase their insulin naturally. They can exercise. Exercise improves the body’s ability to regulate insulin. Exercise also increases blood flow to the whole body.

Watch this blog for more news as we learn about nasal insulin and other research pointing the way toward prevention, management or a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

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