Date of Completion

2016

Document Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Department of Psychiatry

Type of Thesis

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Julie Dumas, PhD.

Second Advisor

Eugene Delay, PhD

Third Advisor

John Green, PhD

Keywords

insulin, estrogen, menopause, fMRI

Abstract

Insulin has an important role in cognition, in addition to its well-known functions in peripheral glucose metabolism. Impaired insulin signaling has been linked to the cognitive decline seen in type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease (de la Monte & Wands, 2008). This study examined the effect of insulin on fMRI brain activation during working memory and episodic memory tasks in six postmenopausal women. The goal of this study was to understand how the hormonal change after menopause modifies insulin signaling and how this subsequently impacts fMRI brain activation and cognition. Subjects were tested under conditions of high peripheral insulin levels compared to low levels on two separate study days; these levels were manipulated by ingestion of glucose or water on either study day. We found that high peripheral insulin levels resulted in increased brain activation in both the working memory and episodic memory tasks. Results from this study suggest that insulin functionally changes cognitive processes in the brain in postmenopausal women, however further research is needed in order to understand these changes and their underlying mechanisms.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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