Researchers from Taiwan have conducted a study which suggests that Parkinson’s disease is linked with 16 types of cancer. The study published in JAMA Oncology was conducted by researchers from the National Taiwan University College of Medicine (Taipei).
For the study researchers used the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database and analyzed 62,023 patients who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease between 2004 and 2010 and a control group of 124,046 participants who did not suffer from Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which the nerve cells in the brain are affected and this leads to movement problems which become worse over time.
The study conducted on Eastern Asian population contradicts more than 25 studies conducted on Western population which indicate that Parkinson’s disease could in fact lower the patient’s risk of developing various types of cancer.
The findings of the study suggest that the disease does not increase the risk of developing ovarian, breast and thyroid cancer. However Parkinson’s disease is linked with 16 other types of cancers such as: leukemia, skin cancers such as melanoma, malignant brain tumors, lung cancers, urinary tract cancers, gastrointestinal tracts cancers and hormone-related cancers.
The highest risk for developing cancer was identified in the case of patients with ages between 50 and 59. The scientists involved in the study could not explain what the connection between Parkinson’s disease and the 16 types of cancer was. However their assumption is that mutation of the PARK2 gene may trigger both cancers and an early onset of Parkinson’s.
The lead author of the study, Professor of medicine Pan-Chyr Yang from the National Taiwan University College of Medicine, declared:
“Based on this nationwide study on the association between PD (Parkinson’s disease) and cancer risk, we conclude that PD is a risk factor for most cancer in Taiwan.”
The research team admitted that they need to further look into this matter in order to determine why exactly their findings contradict other Western studies. The researchers speculate that the development of the disease could be influenced by environmental factors. On the other hand Western studies say that Parkinson’s disease is influenced by genetics.
Research indicates that one million senior people in the US suffer from this condition. This means less than 1 percent. In East Asia half of the older population suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
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