Rosacea means 2x Parkinson’s – not so fast !


Proving once again that you shouldn’t rely on the mainstream media for your health news, blanket coverage today for a Danish statistical population study that uses the words Rosacea and Parkinson’s in the title. Even simply using the two words in the same headline implies some kind of link – reading the details of the study only lightly confirms a possible link.

Bearing in mind that this study is based on a statistical analysis of the Danish national health database – here are some of the takeaways from the study;

  • If you have rosacea you have a two-fold increased liklihood of developing Parkinson’s, compared to the general population.
  • Tetracycline therapy appears to off a small reduction the risk of Parkinson’s – whether or not you have rosacea.
  • Incidence rate of Parkinsons disease was 3.54 per 10,000 years, but 7.62 per 10,000 persons years for rosacea sufferers.

How is this possible?

There is some speculation that this might be related to the “could be due to shared pathogenic mechanisms involving elevated matrix metalloproteinase activity.” The usual more studies are needed disclaimer applies.

Another interesting way to look at these sort of research results is to consider that it is “possible that rosacea or rosacea-associated features, such as facial flushing, may contribute to support a Parkinson disease diagnosis at an early phase of the disease.”

So it could also be that the look similar in the early stages and one diagnosis might trigger the early diagnosis of the other.

Rosacea and Tetracyclines

We know that tetracyclines help treat rosacea through

  • Inhibition of angiogenesis
  • Inhibition of neutrophil chemotaxis
  • Inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines and MMP-9

Any possible link with these benefits and a reduced susceptibility to Parkinsons is yet to be confirmed.

Stay Tuned

This is very early days for extracting the any tangible outcomes from this research. More research will no doubt confirm the the how and why of any relationship and any related consequences.

Study Abstract

Exploring the Association Between Rosacea and Parkinson DiseaseA Danish Nationwide Cohort Study

JAMA Neurol. Published online March 21, 2016

Alexander Egeberg, MD, PhD; Peter Riis Hansen, MD, PhD, DMSci; Gunnar H. Gislason, MD, PhD; Jacob P. Thyssen, MD, PhD, DMSci

Importance  The pathogenesis of rosacea is unclear, but increased matrix metalloproteinase target tissue activity appears to play an important role. Parkinson disease and other neurodegenerative disorders also display increased matrix metalloproteinase activity that contribute to neuronal loss.

Objective  To investigate the risk of incident (new-onset) Parkinson disease in patients with rosacea.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A nationwide cohort study of the Danish population was conducted using individual-level linkage of administrative registers. All Danish citizens 18 years or older from January 1, 1997, to December 31, 2011 (N = 5 472 745), were included. Data analysis was conducted from June 26 to July 27, 2015.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The main outcome was a diagnosis of Parkinson disease. Incidence rates (IRs) per 10 000 person-years were calculated, and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol abuse, medication, and comorbidity were estimated by Poisson regression models.

Results  A total of 5 404 692 individuals were included in the reference population; of these, 22 387 individuals (9812 [43.8%] women; mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 75.9 [10.2] years) received a diagnosis of Parkinson disease during the study period and 68 053 individuals (45 712 [67.2%] women; mean age, 42.2 [16.5] years) were registered as having rosacea. The IRs of Parkinson disease per 10 000 person-years were 3.54 (95% CI, 3.49-3.59) in the reference population and 7.62 (95% CI, 6.78-8.57) in patients with rosacea. The adjusted IRR of Parkinson disease was 1.71 (95%, CI 1.52-1.92) in patients with rosacea compared with the reference population. There was a 2-fold increased risk of Parkinson disease in patients classified as having ocular rosacea (adjusted IRR, 2.03 [95% CI, 1.67-2.48]), and tetracycline therapy appeared to reduce the risk of Parkinson disease (adjusted IRR, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.97-0.99]).

Conclusions and Relevance  Rosacea constitutes an independent risk factor for Parkinson disease. This association could be due to shared pathogenic mechanisms involving elevated matrix metalloproteinase activity. The clinical consequences of this association require further study.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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