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Alzheimers and Cancer

January 6, 2010

A recent study suggests that people with Alzheimer’s disease are less likely to get cancer, and vice-versa.


Alzheimer’s and cancer. Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

New research suggests that people with Alzheimer’s disease may be less likely to get cancer. Washington University School of Medicine psychologist Cathy Roe and her colleagues followed a group of older adults for eight years.

CATHY ROE (Washington University School of Medicine):
And what we found is that the people that had Alzheimer’s diseases at baseline were slower to be hospitalized for cancer compared to those who did not have Alzheimer’s disease. Their risk was reduced by 69%.

They also found that people with a diagnosis of cancer at the start of the study had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease over a five-year period than those who started cancer-free.

I think it might affect treatment if we can figure out exactly what is linking these two diseases. If you can identify a molecular pathway that might point out drugs that should be tried.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.