Parkinson’s Disease – Caffeine might help to Control Movement

credit: National Cancer Institute Renee Comet (Photographer) - PD

(Best Syndication News) - A study found that caffeine might help a person with Parkinson’s disease better control their movement. The research was carried out at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) and was funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Webster Foundation. The results were published in Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Dr. Ronald Postuma, lead author of the study, a researcher in neurosciences at the RI MUHC, and Professor of Medicine in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, explained that this is one of the first studies to investigate caffeine and its potential help motoring functions with Parkinson’s disease patients. Other research has found a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease among coffee drinkers.

The researchers wanted to see what would happen when caffeine was introduced to patients with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Postuma said that sleepiness is often a symptom in people with the condition. Caffeine is known to generally wake people up. They wanted to see if any improvements in sleepiness and motor skills, such as slow movement, muscle stiffness, shaking, and lack of balance, would occur.

The small study involved 61 participants who have Parkinson’s disease. The control group was given a placebo pill. The other group was given 100 mg of caffeine twice daily for the first three weeks; later the dosage was increased to 200 mg twice daily for three more weeks.

The results showed a five-point improvement on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale in the group that was given the caffeine supplements compared to the placebo group. Sleepiness symptoms for the caffeine group showed mediocre results. Caffeine did not change the sleep quality or depression in the study participants.

Dr. Postuma explained that larger and longer studies would be needed to better conclude if caffeine is beneficial for treating Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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