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Rosacea could increase risk of dementia

Rosacea could increase risk of dementia
29th April 2016

Research from the University of Copenhagen has suggested that rosacea could be a sign that a person is at a slightly higher risk of being diagnosed with dementia.

Published in the journal Annals of Neurology, the study found that the risk was highest among older patients where rosacea - a chronic inflammatory skin disorder - was diagnosed by a hospital dermatologist.

The condition is the result of increased levels of certain proteins, which are also involved in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

To further investigate this link, Dr Alexander Egeberg, from the University of Copenhagen, looked at Danish registers and identified more than 82,400 patients with rosacea.

Of all the people on the registers, more than 99,000 developed dementia, 29,000 of which were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The team calculated that patients with rosacea had a seven per cent increased risk of developing dementia and a 25 per cent higher risk of Alzheimer's disease, compared to people without the skin condition.

In addition, the team found that females had a 28 per cent increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and males a 16 per cent increased risk if they had rosacea.

Dr Egeberg said prominent neurological symptoms such as burning and stinging pain in the skin, migraines, and neuropsychiatric symptoms could suggest a link between rosacea and dementia.

He explained that emerging evidence suggests that rosacea may be linked with neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease and now also Alzheimer's disease, as there are some overlaps between the two conditions.

However, he said the exact reasons for this potential link is still unclear and that it is important to remember that having rosacea does not necessarily mean that people will develop dementia.

The findings could provide new insights into the link between the skin and neurodegenerative disorders, but further research would be needed to determine whether treating rosacea could reduce a person's risk of developing dementia, he said.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.