Tuesday, 03 May 2016 12:27

Popular Prostate Cancer Treatment May Increase Alzheimer’s Risk

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A new study links testosterone-lowering therapy with brain disease.

A universal treatment procedure for men diagnosed withprostate cancerhas been linked to an increased risk forAlzheimer’s disease, according to a major new study, published in the December 7, 2015 issue of theJournal of Clinical Oncology

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University analyzed the medical records of nearly 5 million patients in two large hospital organizations and established that prostate cancer patients who had undergoneandrogen deprivation therapy(ADT) were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than those patients who did not choose that treatment protocol. “It’s hard to determine the precise amount of increased risk in just one study and important to note that this study does not prove causation,” quoted chief study author Kevin Nead, MD, a resident at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. “But considering the already high prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in older men, any increased risk would have significant public health implications.”

The study revealed important points.   

ADT has become an accepted prostate cancer treatment procedure in recent years; as it has been shown to efficiently repress male hormones, liketestosterone, that often encourage prostate cell increase.

Earlier study has revealed that radically lowering androgen levels, specially testosterone, can lead to impotence, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and even cognitive disorders, but Nead’s team and their colleagues at Stanford are the original to discover a link between ADT and Alzheimer’s.

The panel focused on nearly 17,000 prostate cancer patients treated at Mt. Sinai Hospital and the Stanford health system. Of those, about 2,400 had undergone the ADT procedure, which researchers measured with a control group of non-ADT patients. The two groups were coordinated by age and other factors.

In the years subsequent to the prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, researchers found ADT patients were about 88% more prone to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than the control group. Testosterone is understood to contribute to brain cell health, so researchers hypothesize that significantly dropping levels of the hormone could leave those cells less able to fight the process leading to Alzheimer’s.

Last modified on Tuesday, 03 May 2016 12:39
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