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Association between insulin and executive functioning in alcohol dependence: a pilot study

Authors Han C, Bae H, Won S, Lim JY, Kim D

Received 8 July 2015

Accepted for publication 8 September 2015

Published 16 November 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 2903—2908

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S92029

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Changwoo Han,1 Hwallip Bae,2 Sung-Doo Won,3 Jaeyoung Lim,3 Dai-Jin Kim4

1Department of Psychiatry, Ansan Hospital, College of Medicine, Korea University, Ansan, 2Department of Psychiatry, Myongji Hospital, College of Medicine, Seonam University, Goyang, 3Department of Clinical Psychology, Keyo Hospital, Keyo Medical Foundation, Uiwang, 4Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Abstract: Alcohol dependence is a disorder ascribable to multiple factors and leads to cognitive impairment. Given that insulin dysregulation can cause cognitive impairment, patients with alcohol dependence are likely to develop insulin dysregulation such as that in diabetes. The purposes of this study are to identify an association between cognitive functioning and insulin and to investigate insulin as the biomarker of cognitive functioning in alcohol-dependent patients. Serum insulin levels were measured and cognitive functions were assessed in 45 patients with chronic alcoholism. The Korean version of the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD-K), a battery of cognitive function tests, was used to assess cognitive functioning. Serum insulin levels were not significantly correlated with most CERAD-K scores, but there was a significant negative correlation with scores on the Trail Making Test B, which is designed to measure executive functioning. Lower serum insulin levels were associated with slower executive functioning responses on the Trail Making Test B, suggesting that executive functioning may be in proportion to serum insulin levels. Thus, in patients with alcohol dependence, insulin level is associated with cognitive functioning. In addition, the present findings suggest that insulin level is a potential biomarker for determining cognitive functioning.

Keywords: insulin, alcohol dependence, executive function, trail making test

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