UNDATED (WJRT) -
(07/08/14) - Every 70 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer's disease.
There is no cure, but there is new hope.
On July 12-15, the greatest minds in Alzheimer's research are gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, discussing the latest breakthroughs and developments in this disease. One new breakthrough is giving some hope.
Judy Jolie knew back in college her husband Tom was the one.
"Right away we knew we wanted to do something with our lives," she said.
Tom felt the same.
"We realized we had a lot of things in common and I think that's what basically attracted us," he said.
The two married and began their life together on a mission trip to South America.
Now 50 years later, Judy fondly remembers those times, but after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease eight years ago, her short term memory is fading.
"Some people can't walk very well or run and I just you know, can't hang onto or can't pull things out of my memory as well as I'd like to," she said.
Now, new research might help.
"We would be more than happy if there was no improvement but there was no further deterioration," said Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD, cognitive neurologist at Rush University Medical Center.
The trial, known as "sniff", is testing a new insulin nasal spray that could change the way we treat Alzheimer's. Insulin plays a vital role managing your body's blood sugar. Aggarwal says it also plays a key role in brain function.
"You see specific areas of the brain, OK, that are not utilizing the sugar the way they should. And that has to do with the insulin receptors," Aggarwal said.
That insulin resistance impacts memory. The spray will deliver insulin directly to the brain, where changes can take place.
"So if we learn how to modulate the sugar issue and learn how sugar interacts with the brain for brain function, then we have a good chance of slowing down the rates of developing dementia, which is the ultimate goal," Aggarwal said.
In a smaller trial, the spray was shown to improve memory and preserve cognitive function in the early stages of Alzheimer's.
"With the insulin study, we saw that these areas, eventually that were having a drop out, basically came back to look like this," Aggarwal said.
It's results the Jolie's would be thrilled with.
The sniff study is actively recruiting patients across the country in 29 centers. Qualified patients are non-diabetic and have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or are in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.