According to recent statistics, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 67 seconds. There are more than 5 million people in the U.S. who are living with this condition and more than 500,000 Americans die from it every year.
The good news is that a team of researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina may have found a new treatment for this disease: an insulin nasal spray that could help patients with Alzheimer’s.
The team of researchers was led by Suzanne Craft, a PhD professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the North Carolina Wake Forest Center. The researchers found that the insulin nasal spray could work for patients with mild cognitive impairment, which affects approximately 10 to 20% of people older than 65.
A previous study published in 2011 in the Medical News Today, revealed that the insulin nasal spray helped improve memory with Alzheimer’s patients and with other forms of cognitive impairment.
The participants in that study had been given 20 or 40 international units of insulin via a nasal spray. In the latest study the participants were given via the nasal spray another form of insulin called detemir, which provides effects that last longer, compared to the effects of the regular insulin.
For the new study, 60 patients diagnosed with moderate Alzheimer’s disease and with moderate cognitive impairment were given via nasal spray 20 or 40 IU of detemir insulin and some patients were administered 20 IU of placebo.
The study revealed that the patients who were given 40 IU of detemir insulin showed significant improvement with their memory functions: their ability to retain and process new information was improved, compared to the patients who received the placebo.
The scientists said that the participants who were given 40 IU of insulin detemir and who had a gene called APOE-e4, a gene responsible for Alzheimer’s, had higher results on memory tests than the ones who received the placebo.
Craft said that the new insulin detemir nasal spray can provide effective treatment for patients diagnosed with moderate cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, adding that so far, the side effects were minor.
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