AAN: Melanoma Family History Linked to Parkinson's Disease

-- Rick Ansorge

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A family history of melanoma is associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to research that will be presented April 25-May 2 at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle.

Xiang Gao, M.D., of Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues studied 131,995 initially Parkinson's disease-free men and women who were enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study.

After 14 to 20 years of follow-up, the researchers found that 543 subjects developed Parkinson's disease. After adjusting for smoking, ethnicity, caffeine intake and other variables, they found that a family history of melanoma in a first-degree relative was associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease (multivariate risk ratio, 1.92). But they found that a family history of colorectal, lung, prostate or breast cancer had no significant associations with Parkinson's disease.

"Our findings support the notion that melanoma and Parkinson's disease share common genetic components," the authors conclude. "The genetic determinants of melanoma could therefore be explored as susceptibility candidate genes for Parkinson's disease."

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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