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Cancer May Reduce Risk of Alzheimers Disease

Posted 7/16/2013

Posted in

  You have to look very hard to find anything positive about having cancer, and you have to look even harder to find something positive about having endured chemotherapy. This is one of those rare things, a possible reduced risk of Alzheimer's Disease for people who have survived cancer and especially for those who received chemotherapy.

  In fairness (and backing off a bit from the glow of something positive), this study from the Boston VA System specifically reports that they did not include breast cancer survivors. People who seemed to have the most benefit were those who had liver cancer, followed by other difficult types like gastric and pancreatic. A really cynical view would be people who do well after one of those horrific diagnoses are really tough or lucky or blessed or something. The researchers did not include breast cancer because, in the VA system, there were not enough women to make a fair sample. Therefore, we don't know if breast cancer and breast cancer chemotherapy may give us the same benefit. I choose to believe that they might.

Here is the beginning of the article from today's Globe and a link to read more:

Cancer, chemotherapy might reduce risk for Alzheimer’s

A sweeping study from Boston scientists finds that survivors of many cancers appear to have a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, especially those treated with chemotherapy.

The results reported Monday generated buzz among scientists about possible new approaches to fighting the mind-robbing illness, including treatment with some variation of chemotherapy. The connection between the diseases also points to little-explored triggers for Alzheimer’s that could be targeted by researchers trying to develop medications.

Researchers at the VA Boston Healthcare System found that most types of cancer were associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, which has no cure. Survivors of liver cancer had the most protection, a 51 percent reduced risk.


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