Caffeine Parkinsons Disease

Caffeine may lower the risk of Parkinson's disease, say researchers at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Honolulu. Robert Abbott and colleagues studied more than 8,000 Hawaiian men of Japanese ancestry who were asked about their diets when they entered the Honolulu Heart Program in the mid-1960s and again in the early 1970s.

Over the next 30 years, 102 of the men were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Those who drank no coffee had a two to three times greater risk of Parkinson's than coffee drinkers. Caffeine from other foods was also linked to a lower risk of the disease, but coffee was the largest source of caffeine among the men.

While caffeine is the cause of many health problems, this connection with Parkinson's is interesting. "People who have a predisposition to Parkinson's or early stages of the disease may have a dislike for coffee," says Abbott. "Or, caffeine may delay the degeneration of neurons in the brain." The loss of neurons that produce the neurotransrnitter dopamine causes the tremors and other symptoms of Parkinson's.58

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