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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Study: Alzheimer's Patients Get Less Cancer

Cancer History Linked to Less Alzheimer’s
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Alzheimer's Patients Had 69% Lower Cancer Risk continued...

But compared to people without Alzheimer’s, patients with Alzheimer’s disease at study entry were 69% less likely to be hospitalized with cancer during the same time period.

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease was reduced by 43% in white patients with a history of cancer, compared to participants without cancer, but the finding did not hold for other racial and ethnic groups.

The study appears online and in the Jan. 12 issue of the journal Neurology.

Roe says more research is needed to determine if cancer and degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s really are related.

“We are in the beginning stages of this research,” she says. “There is a lot to be done before concluding that a link exists.”

Alzheimer’s disease specialist David Knopman, MD, agrees, but says his own clinical experience makes him think something is going on.

Knopman is a professor of neurology and a member of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“I see (Alzheimer’s) patients for four, five, and six years at an age when cancer is common, and they just don’t seem to die of cancer as often as other patients,” he says. “If there are shared genetic factors at work in cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s community may be able to learn from cancer research and the cancer community can learn from Alzheimer’s.”

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