Allergy Sufferers Less Prone to Brain Cancer, Study Suggests

There may be an upside to annoying, and sometimes dangerous, allergies according to a new study that suggests a host of allergies may protect against some types of brain tumors, Science News reported.

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago found, in surveys of hospital patients, that patients with a history of allergies were less likely to be diagnosed with glioma, a common form of brain cancer. Of the 344 patients with glioma involved in the survey of 1,000 hospital patients, only about 35 percent had been diagnosed with an allergy in their lifetime. Of the cancer-free respondents in the survey, nearly half had been diagnosed with allergies.

Glioma is not the only cancer that is negatively correlated with allergies, such as hay fever, peanut and pet allergies. People with allergies appear to have lower rates of pancreatic and colorectal cancer.

Human immune systems react to when foreign cells, such as cancer cells, develop in the body. Scientists suspect allergy sufferers, because they have overactive immune systems, mount better responses to foreign cells.

A team from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has launched a similar survey of 6,000 glioma patients to expand on the research.

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