The study led by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center studied 60 adults diagnosed with amnesic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia (AD).
Researchers found that those who received nasally-administered 40 international unit (IU) doses of insulin detemir, a manufactured form of the hormone, for 21 days showed significant improvement in their short-term ability to retain and process verbal and visual information compared with those who received 20 IU doses or a placebo.
Additionally, the recipients of 40 IU doses carrying the APOE-e4 gene - which is known to increase the risk for Alzheimer's - recorded significantly higher memory scores than those who received the loser dosage or placebo, while non-carriers across all three groups posted significantly lower scores.
Previous trials had shown promising effects of nasally-administered insulin for adults with AD and MCI, but this study was the first to use insulin detemir, whose effects are longer-lasting than those of 'regular' insulin.
The researchers also sought to determine if the insulin detemir doses would cause any negative side effects, and found only minor adverse reactions among the subjects.
The study's overall results support further investigation of the therapeutic value of insulin detemir as a treatment for Alzheimer's and other neuro-degenerative diseases, Craft said.
The study will appear in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

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