This Skin Condition Is Linked to Alzheimer’s Risk
There is new research, published on April 28 in the Annals of Neurology, suggesting that Rosacea, a condition that causes redness and often small, red, pus-filled bumps on the face, may be linked to a higher risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Thankfully, the authors of the study were quick to assure people that if they have rosacea, they shouldn’t be overly worried.
Lead author, Dr. Alexander Egeberg, said that while the risk may be slightly elevated in those with the condition, the absolute risk is still quite low. “According to the National Rosacea Society, roughly 16 million Americans suffer from the skin condition…While treatable, there is no known cure for the disease, which has no clear cause”, reports the article from Health.
Egeberg’s team looked at data from the Danish national health registry system from 1997 to 2012 and the nation’s entire population—around 5.6 million men and women—were included; of those about 82,000 had rosacea.
His team found that people with rosacea had a seven percent greater likelihood for developing any form of dementia, and a 25 percent higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease, than those who didn’t have rosacea. And women were more affected than men. Women with rosacea had a 28 percent greater risk for Alzheimer’s, compared to 16 percent in men.
But age also played a role. The risk of Alzheimer’s in rosacea patients went up by 20 percent for those who were 60 or older when they first enrolled in the study. But again, Egeberg stressed that the study only pointed to an association between dementia and rosacea- not a causal link.
But this is not the first study of its kind. Earlier this year, Egeberg led an investigation that tied the same skin condition to a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease (published in the journal JAMA Neurology). It seems that certain proteins and inflammatory processes have been found in increased levels in the skin of patients with rosacea. So, again while this may be a potential explanation, the author points out that they cannot say for sure that the skin condition is the cause.
From the Health article:
“The important next step leading from this finding is to better understand the underpinning of both conditions and if treatment targets or lifestyle modifications can be discovered that impact the risk of developing these conditions. It will also be interesting to examine if successful treatment of one condition has an impact on the course of the other.”
The takeaway should be to watch inflammation and make sure that your doctor is aware of these studies, especially for those over 60.