Family history of melanoma ups Parkinson's risk

February 17, 2009 1:52:21 PM PST
If melanoma runs in the family, there may also be Parkinson's disease. Researchers say a family history of melanoma almost doubles the likelihood of developing Parkinson's.

Other research has shown a link between the cancer and the neurological disorder, but this new study from the Harvard School of Public Health may be the first to show a genetic connection.

What the two conditions have in common isn't known, but it's possible the metabolism of pigments and genes have some connection.

The research needs to be confirmed, but investigators hope the findings will help doctors identify people at high risk for Parkinson's disease.