Over the course of illnesses, melanoma and Parkinson’s disease seem very distant. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, while Parkinson’s disease has debilitating neurological effects.
However, despite their apparent differences, research highlights a surprising link between the two.
A two-decade Harvard study tracked the health of 132,000 men and women, none of whom started with Parkinson’s disease.
However, 543 cases have been reported over the years. By analyzing the family and personal history of melanoma in each participant, the researchers found that a genetic tendency for melanoma almost doubles the chances of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Although connection theories are in their infancy, researchers believe there may be genetic mechanisms similar to the two conditions.
“Pigment metabolism and the genes that encode proteins in this process can, at least in part, explain this association,” said Dr. Xiang Gao to Reuters last year.
And if the association can be verified with other studies, it could mean better preventive care in the future.
“Our conclusions, if confirmed,” continued Gao, “will help clinicians to identify populations at high risk for Parkinson’s disease.”