Health Discoveries in Movement Disorders, Parkinsons etc

Genetic link seen in Parkinson's and related cancers

April 13, 2011
A research team at the University of Utah, reviewing records that date back as much as 100 years, believes there is a genetic link for those with Parkinson's disease and an increased risk that they and their relatives can also develop melanoma and prostate cancer.

"In our study, we not only identified an increased risk for prostate cancer and melanoma among individuals with Parkinson's disease and their relatives, but also established a reciprocal risk for Parkinson's disease among individuals with these two cancers and their relatives," said Dr. Stefan Pulst, head of the neurology department in the university's School of Medicine. "Collectively, these data strongly support a genetic association between Parkinson's disease and both prostate cancer and melanoma."

The researchers reviewed data for more than 2.2 million people in the Utah Population Database, which extended back as much as 15 generations. In addition, they focused on nearly 3,000 people who died of Parkinson's disease and at least three generations of their families. The risk of melanoma and prostate cancer was significantly greater in this group, the researchers found.

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, a creatine vs. placebo clinical trial is trying to determine whether the drug creatine slows the progression of Parkinson's disease.
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