People with Alzheimer's disease are less likely to develop cancer — and those with cancer may be protected against Alzheimer's, new research suggests.
The reason for the link, reported online in the journal Neurology, remains a mystery.
Researchers watched the progress of more than 3,000 people aged 65 and older for several years to see if they developed Alzheimer's or cancer.
At the start of the study, 164 participants — 5.4% of the total — already had Alzheim-er's and 522 (17.3%) had cancer. During the investigation, 478 people developed |dementia and 376 showed signs of invasive cancer.
However, those who had Alzheimer's at the start of the study were 69% less likely to become hospitalised with cancer than those who did not.
For participants who had cancer at the start, their risk of developing Alzheimer's was 43% less than that of those who were cancer-free.
Study leader Dr Catherine Roe, from Washington University in St Louis, US, said: “The links may help us understand both diseases and open up avenues for treatments.”