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      Improving Influence of Insulin on Cognitive Functions in Humans

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          Insulin receptors have been identified in limbic brain structures, but their functional relevance is still unclear. In order to characterize some of their effects, we evaluated auditory evoked brain potentials (AEP) in a vigilance task, behavioral measures of memory (recall of words) and selective attention (Stroop test) during infusion of insulin. The hormone was infused at two different rates (1.5 mU/kg × min, ‘low insulin’, and 15 mU/kg × min, ‘high insulin’), inducing respectively serum levels of 543 ± 34 and 24,029 ± 1,595 pmol/l. This experimental design allowed to compare cognitive parameters under two conditions presenting markedly different insulin levels, but with minimal incidence on blood glucose concentrations since these were kept constant by glucose infusion. A ‘no insulin treatment’ group was not included in order to avoid leaving patients infused with glucose without insulin treatment. Measures were taken during a baseline phase preceding insulin infusion and every 90 min during the 360 min of insulin infusion. Compared with ‘low insulin’, ‘high insulin’ induced a slow negative potential shift in the AEP over the frontal cortex (average amplitude, high insulin: 0.27 ± 0.48 µV; low insulin: 1.87 ± 0.48 µV, p < 0.005), which was paralleled by enhanced memory performance (words recalled, high insulin: 22.04 ± 0.93; low insulin: 19.29 ± 0.92, p < 0.05). Also, during ‘high insulin’ subjects displayed enhanced performance on the Stroop test (p < 0.05) and expressed less difficulty in thinking than during ‘low insulin’ (p < 0.03). Results indicate an improving effect of insulin on cognitive function, and may provide a frame for further investigations of neurobehavioral effects of insulin in patients with lowered or enhanced brain insulin, i.e., patients with Alzheimer’s disease or diabetes mellitus.

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          Most cited references 19

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              CELLULAR NEUROSCIENCE: Tracking Insulin to the Mind

               I Wickelgren (1998)

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                October 2001
                05 October 2001
                : 74
                : 4
                : 270-280
                Departments of aInternal Medicine I and bClinical Neuroendocrinology, University of Lübeck, Germany
                54694 Neuroendocrinology 2001;74:270–280
                © 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, References: 77, Pages: 11
                Clinical Neuroendocrinology


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