Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Could Insulin be a Treatment for Alzhimers?

A small pilot study has found preliminary evidence that squirting insulin deep into the nose where it travels to the brain might hold early Alzheimer’s disease at bay, researchers said on Monday.

It comes at a time when there are no effective ways to prevent or delay the progress of Alzheimer’s. And although the results are preliminary and must be viewed with caution, “it is a provocative study,” said Dr. Jason Karlawish, an Alzheimer’s researcher and ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. But he and other experts caution that a bigger and longer study is needed to see if the initial results hold up and whether there are adverse effects that might negate any benefits.
The idea is that part of the pathology of Alzheimer's involves a change in glucose metabolism in the brain; that insulin is not reaching it effectively due to the interference by the beta amyloid plaques that appear in Alzheimer's victim's brains, so while it might not prevent the actual disease process, it ameliorates the mental degradation.  I assume shooting in the nose somehow bypasses the blood-brain barrier which prevents many chemicals (especially polypeptides like insulin) from reaching the brain.

It will be a great thing if this pans out.

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