Researchers have found that the people, who develop skin cancer, may have less chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the older ages.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder that affects the brain and causes dementia, especially late in life.
In this new study, researchers worked on 1,102 volunteers with an average age of 79. They were studied for about 3.7 years. In the beginning of the study, 109 people reported that they had skin cancer in the past. During the study, 32 people developed skin cancer and 126 people developed dementia, including 100 with Alzheimer’s dementia.
Researchers found that the people, who had skin cancer, had nearly 80% less chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease than the people who did not have skin cancer. Out of 141 patients of skin cancer, only two developed the Alzheimer’s disease. This link has only been found in non-melanoma skin cancer.
The mechanism behind the less chances of Alzheimer’s disease in the patients of skin cancer is not clear. However, “One possible explanation could be physical activity,” he said. “Physical activity is known to protect against dementia, and outdoor activity could increase exposure to UV radiation, which increases the risk of skin cancer,” Study author Richard B. Lipton, MD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, said in a statement.
According to Lipton, other possible factors such as genetic factors could also be involved in this. “The hope is that these results help us learn more about how Alzheimer’s develops so we can create better preventive methods and treatments,” he said.
White, R., Lipton, R., Hall, C., & Steinerman, J. (2013). Nonmelanoma skin cancer is associated with reduced Alzheimer disease risk Neurology, 80 (21), 1966-1972 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182941990