Improved diagnosis, clinical care and prevention of insulin-related co-occurring diseases

PRIME addresses insulin-related signaling. Dysfunctional insulin signaling is a key modulator of mental and non-mental chronic diseases. However, until now scientific studies have overlooked these insulin-related “co-occurring diseases”. PRIME aims to generate innovative diagnostic and treatment strategies to improve the monitoring and clinical outcomes of patients. In addition, we aim to identify and specify the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin multimorbidities. See project Banner here.

Dysregulation of insulin signaling has been implicated in multimorbidity across the lifespan. It affects somatic diseases including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and Romano Ward Syndrome (a heart condition characterized by a long QT interval). New research shows that altered insulin signaling also affects brain-based diseases. This includes neurodegenerative brain disorders (dementia and Alzheimer’s disease) and compulsivity-linked neurodevelopmental disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism spectrum disorders).

Diseases characterized by dysregulation of insulin signaling (i.e. insulinopathies) present major health, societal, and economic burden. These insulin associated diseases are mostly chronic, and with limited or absent curative treatments.

The somatic diseases linked to altered insulin signaling are currently known to affect over 20% of the population and are associated with over 1.2 trillion US$ in global healthcare costs annually.

To date, the recognition and clinical management of insulin comorbidity remain poorly established. Brain-based comorbidity is generally neglected, and medical efforts are only devoted to the management of the primary, somatic diagnosis.

In PRIME, we posit that insulin-related disease has widespread effects on other, comorbid somatic and mental diseases throughout an individual’s lifetime. Thus, the identification of insulin-related comorbidity early in life (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism) may have important implications for monitoring and treatment decisions both early and later in life.

To learn more about insulin signaling mechanisms and how these are implicated in somatic and mental conditions, see “PRIME explained.