Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning Centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.


Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Treating Alzheimer's Disease With Insulin

Memory improved in a pilot study with nasal spray

Untangling the evidence

Tracking down the connection between diabetes and Alzheimer's is akin to landing in the middle of an old Dragnet episode on television where Jack Webb, playing cop Joe Friday, intoned,"All we want are the facts, ma'am." Scientists understand that the two diseases are related, but they are still investigating the reason behind it.

"Many studies have linked the two diseases," says neurologist Sam Gandy, M.D., of Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. But diabetes and Alzheimer's are complex conditions, and the biological reason for the link is unclear. "The link seems to be related more to type 2 diabetes than type 1, and a key feature of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance," he says.

Researchers have successfully demonstrated that the nasal insulin spray "stabilizes or improves cognitive function in mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer's."

Last year Gandy's laboratory studied the first gene linked to both Alzheimer's and type 2 diabetes and showed that a defect in that gene in mice is associated with the accumulation of plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer's.

Now Craft and her colleagues have successfully demonstrated that the nasal insulin spray "stabilizes or improves cognitive function in mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer's," says Gandy. "These results must be confirmed independently, of course, before they can be accepted as fact. But if they are, although this was considered an unconventional approach, we would have a clear, plausible pathway for developing novel therapies for Alzheimer's."

William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Association, cautions that this is a preliminary study but notes that the results are encouraging enough to warrant a larger and longer trial. "At this point we don't have a definitive therapy for Alzheimer's, so it's good to be able to identify another direction to look for potential treatments," he says.

What to do now?

As yet, there is no cure for Alzheimer's, but preventing the development of insulin resistance through a healthy diet and exercise is an achievable goal, notes Craft. "You'll derive a benefit no matter when you start," she says. And you'll help not only your mind but your body as well.

Nissa Simon writes about health and science in New Haven, Conn.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points