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Alzheimer's nose spray: New Alzheimer's treatment?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-nose-spray/AN01956
- With Mayo Clinic clinical neuropsychologist
Glenn Smith, Ph.D.read biographyclose window
Glenn Smith, Ph.D.Glenn Smith, Ph.D.
Dr. Glenn Smith is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Smith, a Lincoln, Neb., native, has been with Mayo Clinic since 1990 and works with neurologists, psychiatrists, internists, social workers and nurses involved in diagnosing and providing care for people with dementia and their families.
"For Alzheimer's disease, there is currently no cure," he says. "The best "medicine" for patient and family remains education and support. Hopefully, Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's disease Web resources contribute to compassionate care and understanding for Alzheimer's families."
Dr. Smith is a professor of psychology at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, a division co-chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, and principal investigator of the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Education and Information Transfer Core. He is past president of the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology and the Clinical Neuropsychology Division of the American Psychological Association.
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Alzheimer's nose spray: New Alzheimer's treatment?
I recently heard about a new Alzheimer's treatment, a nose spray containing insulin. How does it work and is there an Alzheimer's nose spray available?
from Glenn Smith, Ph.D.
Insulin — a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar — appears to play a role in normal memory processes. Insulin irregularities may contribute to cognitive and brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease.
In the past several years, researchers have been investigating the use of insulin to treat Alzheimer's disease. One of the challenges is how to provide insulin in such a way that it improves brain function without disrupting your blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar drops too low, for example, it can create complications, such as confusion, heart palpitations, anxiety and visual disturbances.
Preliminary research suggests that when taken as a nose spray, insulin reaches the brain within a few minutes and improves memory. However, this research involved small groups of participants who had either early Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment. Although this research is promising, more research on the safety and effectiveness of intranasal insulin therapy for Alzheimer's disease is necessary.Next question
Folic acid supplements: Can they slow cognitive decline?
- Reger MA, et al. Effects of intranasal insulin on cognition in memory-impaired older adults: Modulation by APOE genotype. Neurobiology of Aging. 2006;27:451.
- SNIFF 120: Study of nasal insulin to fight forgetfulness (120 days). U.S. National Institutes of Health. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00438568?term=nasal+spray+AND+alzheimer&rank=1. Accessed Dec. 09, 2010.
- Reger MA, et al. Intranasal insulin administration dose-dependently modulates verbal memory and plasma amyloid-beta in memory-impaired older adults. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. 2008;13:323.
- Watson GS, et al. Effects of insulin and octreotide on memory and growth hormone in Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. 2009;18:595.