Rosacea Linked to Higher Risk of Parkinson’s Onset in Danish Population Study

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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rosacea and Parkinson's

Patients with rosacea may be at an increased risk of new-onset Parkinson’s disease, according to a Danish population study, “Exploring the Association Between Rosacea and Parkinson Disease: A Danish Nationwide Cohort Study,” published in JAMA Neurology.

Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by transient or persistent centrofacial erythema as well as concomitant telangiectasia, papules, and pustules. Its pathogenesis remains uncertain, but an increase in the activity of a family of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases seems to play a role. Neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) also show an increase in these enzymes’ activity, which contributes to neuronal loss.

Alexander Egeberg, MD, PhD, from the University of Copenhagen, and colleagues investigated the risk of incident (new-onset) Parkinson’s disease in people with rosacea, using Danish population data spanning Jan. 1, 1997, to Dec. 31, 2011.  A total of 5.4 million people, age 18 or older, were included in the cohort study. Of these people, 22,387  received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease during those years (mean age, 75.9) , and 68,053 were registered as having rosacea (67.2 percent women; mean age of 42.2 years).

The incidence rates of PD were 3.54 per 10,000 person-years in the general population, and 7.62 per 10,000 person-years in people with rosacea. PD was also found to occur about 2.4 years earlier in those with rosacea. Tetracycline therapy, a drug commonly used to treat rosacea, appeared to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s.

Researchers, while suggesting a link between rosacea and PD, emphasize that this study is limited to the Danish population and does not prove causation. “Further studies are needed to confirm this observation and its clinical consequences,” the authors wrote.

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