We assessed the relationship of insulin resistance with cognitive decline and brain atrophy over two years in early Alzheimer's disease (AD, n=48) and nondemented controls (n=61). Intravenous glucose tolerance tests were conducted at baseline to determine insulin area-under-the-curve (AUC). A standard battery of cognitive tasks and MRI were conducted at baseline and 2-year follow-up. In nondemented controls, higher baseline insulin AUC was associated with 2-year decline in global cognitive performance (beta=-0.36, p=0.005). In early AD, however, higher insulin AUC was associated with less decline in global cognitive performance (beta=0.26, p=0.06), slower global brain atrophy (beta=0.40, p=0.01) and less regional atrophy in the bilateral hippocampi and cingulate cortices. While insulin resistance is associated with cognitive decline in nondemented aging, higher peripheral insulin may have AD-specific benefits or insulin signaling may be affected by systemic physiologic changes associated with AD. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Imaging Brain Aging and Neurodegenerative disease.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier B.V.