Alzheimer's Disease and Cancer
Here it is: the one and only good thing about having had cancer. I never buy into the "cancer was a blessing for me" routines, but this is indeed great news. This is a report from MedScape about a recent study by Dr. Jenny Driver (who was a Fellow with us at BIDMC years ago). Here is the introduction and then a link:
Cancer History Linked to Reduced Alzheimer's Risk
April 21, 2011 (Honolulu, Hawaii) — A new analysis of data from the Framingham Heart Study suggests that survivors of cancer, particularly nonskin cancers, appear to have a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD).
The relationship persisted when the researchers limited their analysis to patients who survived at least 10 years after their cancer, which would appear to rule out a survival bias.
"What we're seeing is the same kind of pattern in Alzheimer's that has been shown in Parkinson's," Jane A. Driver, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, told Medscape Medical News.
Although it might be a small comfort to cancer survivors to have a lower risk for AD in front of them, Dr. Driver said, the key implication here is that there may be biological pathways driving the association that may help illuminate both pathologic processes.