Harvard research finds protective link between most cancers and Alzheimer's disease
They are both dreadful conditions, but it appears cancer reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, especially among people treated with chemotherapy. That's the word from a Harvard-based study presented July 2013 at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference. Researchers at the Harvard-affiliated VA Boston Healthcare System analyzed the health records of 3.5 million veterans ages 65 and older and concluded that most types of cancer—except melanoma, prostate, and colorectal cancers—were associated with a reduced Alzheimer's risk, ranging from 9% to 51%. But the protective association was only with Alzheimer's disease; cancer was associated with a higher risk of stroke, osteoarthritis, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Most cancer survivors were also at increased risk for non-Alzheimer's dementia. Still, researchers say the study results could help focus future research, potentially opening new therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's prevention and treatment.