Alzheimer's Disease Linked To Rosacea, Common Skin Disorder
Scientists have discovered a potential link between Alzheimer's disease and the common skin disorder rosacea, suggesting that age might not be the only factor linked to dementia.
By Tyler MacDonald | May 02, 2016 10:00 AM EDT
A new study led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen reveals a potential link between rosacea - a common skin disorder - and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
The team came to its conclusion after noticing that those with rosacea possess higher levels of specific proteins that are linked to neurological disorders. This discovery prompted scientists Alexander Egeberg from the University of Copenhagen to investigate a potential connection between the two conditions.
Using data from more than 5 million Danish citizens - more than 82,000 of whom were suffering from rosacea - Egeberg and his team followed the subjects until Dec. 31, 2012. At that point, 99,040 of the citizens had developed dementia and 29,193 of these participants were first diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
After making adjustments to control for confounding factors, the team discovered that patients with rosacea had a 7 percent increased risk of dementia and 25 percent increased risk of Alzheimer's disease compared to those without rosacea. When sex was factored in for those with rosacea, women were at a 28 percent increased risk of Alzheimer's disease while men were at a 16 percent increased risk.
"A subtype of patients have prominent neurological symptoms such as burning and stinging pain in the skin, migraines, and neuropsychiatric symptoms, suggesting a link between rosacea and neurological diseases," Egeberg said. "Indeed, emerging evidence suggests that rosacea may be linked with neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease and now also Alzheimer's disease."
"There are certain mechanistic overlaps between rosacea and Alzheimer's disease that may explain the observed association, albeit the pathogenic links between these conditions are still unclear," he added.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder the leads to a breakdown in patients' memory as well as their ability to participate in conversation and conduct daily activities. Although age is typically believed to possess the strongest associated with the disease, the new findings highlight the fact that other currently unknown ones may be present.
Despite the connection, Egeberg stressed that possessing rosacea doesn't guarantee the development of dementia such as Alzheimer's disease and further research must be conducted to determine the exact nature of the relationship between the disorder and neurodegenerative diseases.
The findings were published in the April 28 issue of the journal Annals of Neurology.
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