Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Major Professor

Amy R. Borenstein, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Yougui Wu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James A. Mortimer, P h.D.


Epidemiology, Survival, Association, Competing risks


An increasing number of studies have shown an inverse association between a personal history of cancer (PHC) and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease (AD), both in those using dementia/AD as the outcome or cancer as the outcome. This is the first study to examine this potential association in Japanese Americans; and to examine family history of cancer and its association with incident dementia. Also, the association between these two diseases in the parents of participants were analyzed.

The Kame Project, conducted from 1992 through 2001 in King County, Washington was a population-based, prospective cohort study of older Japanese Americans. Conversion to incident dementia was observed throughout the follow-up period and diagnosed by standard criteria in a consensus conference.

A PHC did not have a significant association with the development of dementia. Differences between this study and those conducted previously showing an inverse association between cancer and dementia or AD included a lower age of the present cohort, race/ethnicity, focus on all-cause dementia vs. AD and adjustment for the competing risk of death. A family history of cancer was inversely associated with the development of dementia. There were statistically significant trends for a dose-response association between the numbers of affected relatives with cancer and risk for dementia. The findings are most likely explained by an inverse genetic association between cancer and dementia. Older Japanese Americans (the parents) with a history of cancer were nearly 2.5 times less likely to have a history of dementia than those without a cancer history.