A preliminary study recently found that there is a link between cancer and chemotherapy and a lower risk of the later development of Alzheimer’s disease in a patient, according to an article by HealthDay News. The researchers studied the health records of approximately 3.5 million patients at Veterans Affairs healthcare systems from 1996 through 2001. The findings were presented at an Alzheimer’s Association conference in Boston.
The patients in the study were all 65 or older and dementia-free when they first needed medical attention. The researchers tracked the patients for almost six years, and discovered that more than 82,000 had developed Alzheimer’s. Approximately 25 percent of these patients also had one of 19 types of cancer, while the other 75 percent did not.
The researchers found that many types of cancer, with the exception of melanoma, prostate cancer and colorectal cancers, were linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. For instance, the risk of Alzheimer’s was lowered 51 percent for patients with liver cancer. In addition, the researchers also discovered a link between chemotherapy, which is a traditional treatment of cancer, and a lower risk for a patient to develop Alzheimer’s. However, according to USA Today, the researchers did not find a link for chemotherapy on patients with prostate cancer. Although the researchers discovered an association between cancer, chemotherapy and Alzheimer’s disease, the existence does not constitute a cause-and-effect relationship.
Last week, a group of Italian researchers had a study with similar findings published in Neurology. The study found an inverse relationship between cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of Alzheimer’s was lowered by 35 percent with the presence of cancer, and the risk of cancer was lowered 43 percent when a patient had Alzheimer’s.