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Can chemo cut risk of Alzheimer's?

Posted by: Colleen Stoxen Updated: July 15, 2013 - 6:34 PM

A sweeping study from Boston scientists finds that cancer patients appear to have a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease -- especially those treated with chemotherapy.

The results, reported Monday as researchers from more than 60 countries gather in Boston for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, are the second batch in less than a week to pinpoint a relationship between the two diseases. That’s generated a buzz among Alzheimer’s researchers about possible new approaches to fighting the mind-robbing illness, which has no cure.

The connection between the diseases also points to little-explored triggers for Alzheimer’s that could be targeted by new medications.

In the latest study, by far the largest yet to establish a link, researchers at the VA Boston Healthcare System found that most types of cancer were associated with a reduced Alzheimer’s risk, with survivors of liver cancer having the most protection, a 51 percent reduced risk.

Other apparently “protective” cancers include those of the pancreas, a 44 percent reduced risk, esophagus, 33 percent, leukemia, 31 percent, lung, 25 percent, and kidney, 22 percent.

Results from the study have not been published in a medical journal, meaning they have not undergone independent review by scientists not involved in the research.

Read more from Boston Globe. www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/07/15/cancer-and-chemotherapy-reduce-risk-alzheimer-boston-study-finds/W6odekQ4X5jTDlW9WMRUbP/story.html

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