Caffeine may help reduce risk of Parkinson’s disease

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Two purines, caffeine and urate, have been linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in many studies.

In a new study, researchers found that lower levels of caffeine consumption and lower blood urate are associated with higher PD risk.

The finding strengthens the links between caffeine intake and urate levels and PD.

The research was conducted by a team at Harvard University.

PD is a slowly progressive disorder that affects movement, muscle control, and balance.

It is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder affecting about 3% of the population by the age of 65 and up to 5% of individuals over 85 years of age.

Previous research has shown that both caffeine and urate have neuroprotective features.

The researchers, therefore, tested whether these reduced risk factors are linked to PD in participants in the Harvard Biomarkers Study (HBS).

HBS is a study designed to explore molecular diagnostic and progression markers of early-stage PD.

The team tested 369 people with PD and 197 healthy people. Urate was measured in blood collected at each participant’s initial HBS visit. Caffeine intake was also assessed.

The team found that caffeine intake was lower in PD patients compared to healthy people.

The risk of having PD decreased strongly with increasing caffeine consumption. Compared with the lowest caffeine consumption, the risk of PD was over 70% lower in the highest consumers.

A strong inverse link was also found with plasma urate levels both in men and women. An equally large association between urate and PD risk was observed among women.

The team says caffeine has yet to be strongly studied in a long-term PD trial, therefore increasing one’s caffeine intake cannot be recommended.

Nevertheless, people who currently enjoy caffeine in coffee or tea may take additional pleasure in knowing of its effects even if unproven potential.

The lead author of the study is Rachit Bakshi, Ph.D., Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital.

The study is published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

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