Neurobiol Aging 2017 02 24;50:163-166. Epub 2016 Nov 24.
Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
The relationship between causes of death and 4 major neurodegenerative brain proteins (beta-amyloid, tau, alpha-synuclein, and the TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) were assessed in 94 cognitively normal elderly participants that died without a neurodegenerative disease. There was an association between tau and causes of death (p = 0.01). Tau in the brain was associated with a reduced likelihood of dying from systemic cancers (p = 0.046), and with an increased likelihood of dying from pulmonary (p = 0.03) and gastrointestinal (p = 0.049) diseases. There were no associations between beta-amyloid, alpha-synuclein, or TDP-43 and causes of death. Tau deposition in the brain may have a relationship with systemic causes of death, including cancer, in the cognitively normal elderly.