Researchers have recently found a connection between Parkinson’s disease and melanoma; specifically that when there are antecedents of melanoma in the family there may be a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The results that will be officially presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s meeting in Seattle, demonstrate how a substantial group of people who did not initially suffer from the disease developed it over a period of 15 to 20 years.
Amongst those who did develop the disease, those with a past history of melanoma in the family ran a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than those without family antecedents.
Researchers are convinced that melanoma and Parkinson’s disease have similar genetic components, and that the connection between the two lies in the metabolism of pigments.
The same group of researchers also studied a group of red-haired people or people with a similar pigmentation gene, MC1R, and found they were more susceptible of developing Parkinson’s disease than other hair types. People with this gene type are also more predisposed to melanomas.
These results are significant, but will have to be confirmed by other research work and results, however they will help establish and identify those individuals who run a higher risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease.