Connection between Rosacea and Higher risk for Parkinson’s disease

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A group of researchers has disclosed their latest findings about a link between the higher risk for Parkinson’s disease and rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Pointing out the connection between these conditions is difficult as researchers have yet to find out the real cause of both conditions.

The researchers, led by Alexander Egeberg, MD, PhD, of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, studied on more than 5.4 million Danes with rosacea to find the link. They published their findings in JAMA Neurology on March 21.

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Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by inflamed redness and pimples or flushing on your face, and sometimes the eyes, or a thickening of the skin. Middle-aged and older adults, especially women during the menopause, have higher risk to develop the condition. People with fair skin are more susceptible.

“Rosacea is a common facial skin disorder affecting up to 10 percent of light-skinned individuals, women in particular,” said Dr. Egeberg. “It is possible that rosacea, or rosacea-associated features, such as facial flushing, may contribute to Parkinson’s disease diagnosis at an early stage.”

They found that among over 5 million individuals, almost 22,400 people were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and more than 68,000 were registered as having rosacea. The results also showed that the disease was likely to occur approximately 2.4 years earlier in patients with the skin condition.

Those who received tetracyclines to treat rosacea seemed to perform a slightly decreased risk of Parkinson. The results implied that the link between them was associated with rosacea itself and not the medications for treatment.

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This is the first research suggested a relation between these disease, and also calls for more study, especially into the potential effect of tetracycline on this risk.

“But that doesn’t mean that if you have rosacea, it will trigger Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Martin Niethammer, an Attending Neurologist at Northwell Health’s Neuroscience Institute in Great Neck, New York.

It is critical to emphasize that this study only highlight a potential association between rosacea and increasing risk for Parkinson, and cannot prove the cause-and-effect. In other words, if you have rosacea, it does not mean that you will absolutely have Parkinson’s disease.

“People with rosacea should not be very concerned about Parkinson’s disease based on this study,” noted Dr. Niethammer.

The authors also added that the Danish population, which is mainly of Northern European descent, may limit extrapolating the results to other ethnicities.

Parkinson’s disease is reported as the second most common neurodegenerative disease, after Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that the disease affects up to 1 million Americans, and about 60,000 cases diagnosed with it each year.

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