A study published in the May 2013 online issue of Neurology follows researchers in Minneapolis who performed a study where 1,102 participants, of an averaged an age of 79, were followed for the span of 3.7 years and tested to see if ever they developed dementia.
At the start of the study, 109 of the patients admitted to having skin cancer in the past. During the study trials 32 people developed skin cancer, and 125 people developed dementia, including 100 people with Alzheimer’s dementia. At the end of the testing period, of the 141 participants who developed skin cancer, only two of them also developed Alzheimer’s dementia. Resulting statistics showed that participants who developed skin cancer were around eighty percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who did not develop skin cancer. However, there was no link found between Melanoma, a rare but powerful form of skin cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Nor was there an evident link with other forms of dementia. The links discovered were limited only to Alzheimer’s dementia and weaker forms of skin cancer. Dr. Richard B Lipton from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, stated that the protective effects of skin cancer were still unknown. However, there was a strong tendency to link physical activity as a protecting agent against dementia, and outdoor activities lead to a higher UV exposure from the sun, which can lead to a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Further insight guided Lipton to suggest genetic factors as a possible link between the two diseases, as the study showed the levels physical activity lowered the risk factor for Alzheimer’s were negligable. More testing is surely needed, but this is a promising step in the right direction for continued Alzheimer’s research.
- 1) R. S. White, R. B. Lipton, C. B. Hall, J. R. Steinerman. Nonmelanoma skin cancer is associated with reduced Alzheimer disease risk. Neurology, 2013; 80 (21): 1966 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182941990 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) (2013, May 15). Skin cancer may be linked to lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. ScienceDaily
By Lauren Horne
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