Caffeine Helps Parkinsonâ€™s Patients Move with Ease
Consuming coffee with caffeine seems to work wonder for the ones suffering Parkinson's disease. A new Canadian research claims that a few cups of coffee may help people with Parkinson's disease to move with greater ease, although getting steady jolts of caffeine doesn't appear to alleviate the daytime sleepiness that affects certain patients.
The study was published in the August 1, 2012 online issue of neurology the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
"Studies have shown that people who use caffeine are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, but this is one of the first studies in humans to show that caffeine can help with movement symptoms for people who already have the disease," said study author Ronald Postuma, MD, of McGill University in Montreal and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center. Postuma is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
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The study was conducted on 61 people who were victims of Parkinson's disease who showed symptoms of daytime sleepiness and some motor symptoms. They were given either a placebo pill or pill that contained nearly 100 milligram of caffeine twice a day for three weeks. They then shifted to giving 20 milligram twice a day for three weeks, which was equivalent of between two cups and four cups of coffee per day.
The researchers noted that after six weeks, the half that took the caffeine supplements averaged a five-point improvement in Parkinson's severity ratings compared to those who didn't consume caffeine.
According to Postuma, "This is a modest improvement, but may be enough to provide benefit to patients. On the other hand, it may not be sufficient to explain the relationship between caffeine non-use and Parkinson's, since studies of the progression of Parkinson's symptoms early in the disease suggest that a five-point reduction would delay diagnosis by only six months."
They noticed that the caffeine group also averaged a three point improvement in the speed of movement and amount of stiffness compared to the placebo group. Caffeine did not appear to help improve daytime sleepiness and there were no changes in quality of life, depression or sleep quality.
Michael Schwarzschild, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said, "The study is especially interesting since caffeine seems to block a malfunctioning brain signal in Parkinson's disease and is so safe and inexpensive. Although the results do not suggest that caffeine should be used as a treatment in Parkinson's disease, they can be taken into consideration when people with Parkinson's are discussing their caffeine use with their neurologist."