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2010 Grants - Craft
Intranasal Insulin Analogue Effects on CSF and Imaging Biomarkers in MCI
Suzanne Craft, Ph.D.
Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research
2010 Zenith Fellows Award
Insulin is known to be critical for controlling blood sugar levels, but it also performs other important functions in the brain. Previous research has shown that persons who have Alzheimer's disease have reduced levels of insulin in the brain, as well resistance to the effects of insulin.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a form of mild brain dysfunction that can progress to Alzheimer's disease in some individuals. Suzanne Craft, Ph.D. and colleagues have found that administration of insulin to persons with Alzheimer's disease or MCI can improve cognitive function. However, this effect lasted for only a short period of time. In order to mimic normal bodily function, the researchers have proposed using a modified version of insulin that has a longer period of action, mimicking the body's ability to continuously produce small amounts of insulin. Furthermore, they plan to administer this long-acting insulin through the nose, where it can gain easier access into the fluid that surrounds nerve cells of the brain (cerebrospinal fluid or CSF).
Dr. Craft's team has proposed a small pilot trial of long-acting insulin in persons with one form of MCI known as amnestic MCI. The researchers will study how long-acting insulin or placebo affect cognitive function, brain blood flow, and the levels of chemicals in the CSF known to be associated with MCI. These studies will provide initial evidence of whether long-acting insulin should be studied in larger clinical trials aimed at reducing the cognitive effects of MCI and perhaps slowing the progression to Alzheimer's disease.