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Medical News & Perspectives
October 11, 2006

Insulin Effects Weigh Heavy on the Brain

JAMA. 2006;296(14):1717-1718. doi:10.1001/jama.296.14.1717

Boston—Known best for its role in the body as a regulator of blood glucose levels and fatty acid storage, insulin also acts in the brain to aid memory and thinking. Thus, when insulin regulation is disrupted, as it is in many common medical conditions including obesity and diabetes, the risk for cognitive impairment rises.

Insulin dysregulation sets the stage for certain neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Alzheimer disease (AD), said Suzanne Craft, PhD, professor of psychiatry, University of Washington, Seattle. Craft and colleagues have been studying the link between insulin and memory for the past decade, and their research is suggesting potential approaches to treat, delay, or even prevent AD. She recently presented some of their findings at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.