Those given caffeine supplements, equivalent to two and four cups a day, averaged a five-point
improvement on the scale used to measure severity
A couple of cups of coffee a day can relieve the shakes in Parkinson’s disease patients.
A study of more than 60 patients found those given caffeine supplements, equivalent to two and
four cups a day, averaged a five-point improvement on the scale used to measure the severity of Parkinson’s.
Professor Ronald Postuma, of McGill University in Montreal, said: “This is a modest improvement
but may be enough to provide benefit to patients.
“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 a five-
point reduction would delay diagnosis by only six months.”
Previous research three years ago showed people who drank two or three cups of coffee a day were 25 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson’s.
Professor Postuma added that caffeine does not appear to help improve sleepiness among sufferers but it may have a benefit in controlling movement.
He said: “Studies have shown people who use caffeine are less likely to develop Parkinson’s but
this is one of the first studies to show caffeine can help with movement symptoms for people who
already have the disease.”
"Participants with daytime sleepiness and some motor symptoms were given either a placebo or a pill with 100 milligrams of caffeine twice a day for three weeks and then 200 milligrams twice a day for three weeks.
After six weeks, the symptoms of the half that had been taking the caffeine supplements improved compared to those who didn’t, according to the researchers, whose findings are published online in the scientific journal Neurology.
The caffeine group also averaged a three-point improvement in the speed of movement and
amount of stiffness compared to the others in the study.
Prof Michael Schwarzschild, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who reviewed the research for the journal, said: “The study is especially interesting since caffeine seems to block a malfunctioning brain signalin Parkinson’s disease and is al so safeand inexpensive.
“Although the results do not suggest 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.”
The researchers said the length of the study was short and the effects of caffeine may lessen over time.
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