The Silver Lining for Allergies: Possible Lower Risk of Brain Cancer

By Emily Murray

For those plagued with allergies, seeing an upside amidst the misery is not always easy. A new study, however, may have many blowing their noses and rubbing their eyes with a bit more enthusiasm.

How can two seemingly unrelated conditions have a possible link? In a new study, those who reportedly suffered from the most frequent number of allergies actually were the group least likely develop the most common type of brain tumor, gliomas. For those who think this sounds odd, it is, but according to the following stats from the study (as reported on MSNBC) it appears there is a viable connection.

* 35% of patients diagnosed with high-grade gliomas reported having at least one allergy
* 46% of patients without gliomas reported having an allergy

So what does this mean?

This isn’t the first time that researchers have explored a possible link, however, additional factors were taken into consideration in this latest survey. When observing variables like number of allergies and type of allergies, it seems that they all appear to help decrease your chance of developing this common form of brain cancer and the more allergies you have, the better when it comes to avoiding this particular type of cancer.

One bone of contention amongst researchers up to this point was whether the allergies themselves or the antihistamines used to help treat the symptoms were really the catalyst behind these lower cancer statistics.  This recent study, published today in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, settled this debate as it found that there is no long term correlation between antihistamines and lowered brain tumor risk.

When researchers look past the “what,” and towards the “why,” there is still some confusion. It may be that those who have allergies have a more active immune system resulting in a freeze on abnormal cell growth. This is one theory mentioned in the MSNBC article, but it is important to note that this is a “theory” and not yet a fact. These facts will come – just not quite yet.

So what if you don’t have allergies?

Perhaps you never before wished you had allergies, until now. Well within a few years, researchers will have a better understanding of exactly why this correlation exists. When they do, it may change the way we treat and prevent brain tumors in the general population.

The following statement from the MSNBC article sums up how findings like these may impact the future of medical science.

“If we can find the mechanism, maybe that might counteract the effects of tumor growth in people who might develop a brain tumor,” she told MyHealthNewsDaily. “I think finding the mechanism is the key point in getting us further.”

While brain tumors are not the most common types of cancers, they are extremely fast moving and devastating for patients and their families. Most who are diagnosed are expected to live for no more than 5 years. Any defense we may soon have against them or towards understanding tumors more effectively, is a win for anyone for those at risk or affected by brain tumors.