Saturday, February 12, 2011

Allergies May Protect Against Brain Cancer

There could be an upside to all that sneezing and wheezing: Allergies may protect against brain cancer, new research suggests.

The more allergies a person has, the lower his or her risk of developing a glioma, the most common type of brain tumor, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Gliomas account for more than half of the 22,000 new cases of brain and nervous system cancers diagnosed in the United States each year.

Researchers analyzed surveys from more than 10,000 people with and without gliomas; all were asked whether they had doctor-diagnosed allergies and if they took antihistamines. The approximately 400 participants with brain tumors were likeliest to report being allergy-free. The researchers did not, however, specify how much more likely someone without allergies was to develop brain cancer than someone with allergies, CNN reports. Though the reason for the association is unclear, the study authors speculate that an overactive immune system, which causes allergies, increases the chances of warding off cancer.


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