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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007 Jan;32(1):239-43. Epub 2006 Aug 16.

Intranasal insulin improves memory in humans: superiority of insulin aspart.

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Department of Neuroendocrinology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany.


There is compelling evidence that intranasal administration of regular human insulin (RH-I) improves memory in humans. Owing to the reduced tendency of its molecules to form hexamers, the rapid-acting insulin analog insulin aspart (ASP-I) is more rapidly absorbed than RH-I after subcutaneous administration. Since after intranasal insulin administration, ASP-I may also be expected to access the brain, we examined whether intranasal ASP-I has stronger beneficial effects on declarative memory than RH-I in humans. Acute (40 IU) and long-term (4 x 40 IU/day over 8 weeks) effects of intranasally administered ASP-I, RH-I, and placebo on declarative memory (word lists) were assessed in 36 healthy men in a between-subject design. Plasma insulin and glucose levels were not affected. After 8 weeks of treatment, however, word list recall was improved compared to placebo in both the ASP-I (p<0.01) and the RH-I groups (p<0.05). ASP-I-treated subjects performed even better than those of the RH-I-treated group (p<0.05). Our results indicate that insulin-induced memory improvement can be enhanced by using ASP-I. This finding may be especially relevant for a potential clinical administration of intranasal insulin in the treatment of memory disorders like Alzheimer's disease.

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