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Diabetes-related Disorders

Scientists have long understood the biochemistry of insulin deficiency and diabetes, but the effects of insulin on the central nervous system are far less understood.

Larry Reagan, Ph.D., is using a modified virus as a tool to study those effects and the larger relationship between diabetes and development of other neurological disorders.
Depressive illnesses and Alzheimer's disease are just a couple of the comorbidities associated with diabetes," Reagan said. Using our specialized virus, we're looking at how decreasing insulin receptors in the brain affects the structure and function of neurons.

We already know that with fewer insulin receptors, you start to see indications of accelerated brain aging. Diabetics' brains appear to be older, which is perhaps why they develop age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's."

Could boosting insulin receptors in the brain have a positive effect? One of the newest things from a clinical perspective is administering insulin intranasally to increase cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients," Reagan said. No one really knows how the insulin has that effect on the brain—that's the big unknown, and that's why we're using the virus to try to map it out."

Current Neuroscience Research: