I come from a family that has Alzheimer's on both sides so any new treatments peak my interest. The latest thing my mom and older cousins are trying is coconut oil. If you've had a parent, grandparent or anyone you love suffer from the disease you will stop at nothing to find a cure. The newest treatment being examined now is an insulin nasal spray.

A study that was done with a small group called Phase II was performed by Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle with about 104 subjects. These subjects had Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairments according to the information provided in the study.

These people were given either a small dose of the insulin or a placebo and then studied for 4 months. Now this isn't really long enough nor is the size of the group large enough to provide much relative information but it can offer hope. That's all most of us want to hear, hope!

There was however, enough information that a longer, larger study has been ordered. That is to get underway next summer. Results for the study won't be available for at least 18 months after completion.

So what and how does this insulin affect the brain and cognition? In recent studies in both humans and animals insulin resistance has shown to have affects on Alzheimer's.

The brains of people with Alzheimer’s either lack normal levels of insulin or are unable to metabolize the amounts that are present.

This study also points out that injections of insulin that diabetic patients does not work and can, in fact, be dangerous.  The insulin has to be in the sinus cavity given by a special device.

The promising part of all of this has been the results of the few that were involved in the study.

Using memory tests and brain scans that show the chemical changes typical of Alzheimer’s, the University of Washington team found that two-thirds to three-fourths of the patients taking insulin improved, compared to those taking a placebo, a dummy medication.

“Most medications for Alzheimer’s disease benefit relatively fewer patients,” Craft said.  “So, from that standpoint we were surprised by how many of the participants benefited.”


Insulin is not the only new drug under going testing and it's not the only new promise either.  I like that.  I like the fact that there is active research going on in this field.  As I said in the beginning hope is a big deal when it comes to Alzheimer's.

It's heart wrenching to see your loved one slowly forget everything and everyone around them.   They forget who their own children are, they revert back to their own childhood.  They are hallow beings with no memories.  The early stages are the hardest, I think.  The person with the disease knows they can't remember, they are aware of the onset and they know soon the disease will take it's toll.  For the caregivers and family you see that person slowly slip away, all life, laughter, everything, gone.

I hope these new studies continue to grow and show promise.  And better yet, I hope a cure is found soon.