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Does College Cause Cancer?

A new study has uncovered a surprising correlation between having a college education and developing brain cancer.

The study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health seems to have found a link between college education and brain cancer. Conducted in Sweden, the study observed more than 4.3 million people between 1911 & 1961. According to the data, men who have acquired at least 3 years of college education were found to be 19 percent more likely to be diagnosed with a glioma (a type of brain cancer responsible for 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors), than their less educated counterparts. Similarly, women with that degree of education were found to have an even more elevated risk than men (23 percent more likely to be diagnosed).The authors of the study did not find a conclusive reason for why the correlation exists, but they did speculate that greater education could be both a catalyst to seek treatment earlier and a facilitation toward greater socio-economic status; allowing greater access to healthcare and thus resulting in a higher degree of reporting for the more highly educated.

But some believe the connection between higher learning and brain cancer may make sense.

Neuroscientist Dr. Eric Holland, director of the Nancy and Buster Alvord Brain Tumor Center, offered this potential explanation to CBS News, when asked about the study.

“I would say it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a slight shift towards smarter, better educated people — if only because in educated or smart people, the brain is always working, thinking and coming up with new connections. That’s an active process and that kind of thing could make cells more likely to kick over into cancer. It could, in theory, activate them. But that is utter speculation. There is absolutely no data for it.”

Could thinking too much cause damage to the brain? Certainly something to think about. But not too much…

 

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