New research has intensified suspected links between a common skin condition and the likelihood of developing dementia in later life. Experts believe that rosacea may have an adverse effect on neurodegenerative disease risk, increasing a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Millions of adults of all ages develop rosacea – a condition characterized by facial redness, small and superficial dilated blood vessels on facial skin, papules, pustules, and swelling.
The link between the condition and neurodegenerative disease risk was pinpointed some time ago – new evidence suggesting it may be stronger than previously thought.
Published this week in the Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, a team of Danish researchers noted that the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s increased significantly among rosacea patients.
“Rosacea is significantly associated with dementia, particularly AD,” the authors wrote.
“Increased focus on symptoms of cognitive dysfunction in older patients with rosacea may be relevant.”
The team, led by Alexander Egeberg, MD, PhD, of University of Copenhagen, identified a 7 percent increased risk of dementia and a 25 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with rosacea, compared to those with no history of the common skin condition.
Women with rosacea were found to have a 28 percent greater risk for Alzheimer’s, compared with a 16 percent higher elevate risk for men with the skin condition. Alzheimer’s risk for rosacea patients increased by 20 percent for those who were 60 or older at the start of the study.
“A subtype of patients have prominent neurological symptoms such as burning and stinging pain in the skin, migraines, and neuropsychiatric symptoms, suggesting a link between rosacea and neurological diseases,” explained Dr. Egeberg.
“Indeed, emerging evidence suggests that rosacea may be linked with neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease and now also Alzheimer’s disease. There are certain mechanistic overlaps between rosacea and Alzheimer’s disease that may explain the observed association, albeit the pathogenic links between these conditions are still unclear.”