To explore the relationship of insulin to memory, researchers are recruiting participants for a national trial that will test a nasal insulin spray to see if there is an improvement on symptoms. The Study of Nasal Insulin in the Fight against Forgetfulness (SNIFF), a Phase 3 study, is enrolling about 240 patients at 30 sites nationwide.
"One of the theories about Alzheimer's is that it's a type 3 diabetes in that the brain of an Alzheimer's patient is not able to use sugar efficiently," said Alan Lerner, MD, director of University Hospitals' (Cleveland) Center for Brain Health and Memory, in an article.
The insulin nasal spray is designed to reach back to the nerve endings that connect to the brain's center of memory function--the hippocampus. In Phase 3, half of the participants will receive either the insulin nasal spray or a placebo for the first 12 months. In the last six months of the trial, all patients will receive the insulin nasal spray.
Because of possible drug interactions, people with diabetes are ineligible for the trial.