(HealthDay News) — Elderly individuals who experience faster cognitive decline appear to be at reduced risk of dying from cancer, according to research published online April 8 in Neurology.

Julián Benito-León, MD, PhD, of Complutense University in Madrid, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 2,627 individuals, aged 65 years and older, without dementia at baseline. At a median follow-up of 12.9 years, the researchers assessed the relationship between cognitive decline and risk of cancer mortality.

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The researchers found that deaths from cancer were reported significantly less often for the tertile of participants with faster cognitive decline (2-point or greater decline in score on the Mini-Mental State Examination) than for those in the remaining tertiles (20.65 vs 28.6%; hazard ratio [HR], 0.75; P = 0.04). 

After multivariable adjustment, the risk of cancer mortality remained significantly reduced for individuals with faster cognitive decline (HR, 0.70; P = 0.02).

“The results of the current study suggest that elderly people without dementia with faster cognitive decline are at reduced risk of mortality from malignant neoplasm,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Benito-León J, Romero JP, Louis ED, et al. Faster cognitive decline in elders without dementia and decreased risk of cancer mortality: NEDICES Study. Neurology. 2014;doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000350.