Caffeine, which is widely consumed around the world in coffee, tea and soft drinks, may help control movement in people suffering from Parkinson's. This is the finding of a study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) that was recently published in Neurology-, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study opens the door to new treatment options for Parkinson's disease that affects approximately 100 000 Canadians.
"This is one of the first studies to show the benefits of caffeine on motor impairment in people who have Parkinson's disease," stated 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. "Research has already shown that people who drink coffee have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, but until now no study had looked at the immediate clinical implications of this finding."
Caffeine-one of the most widely used psychomotor stimulants in the world-it acts on the central nervous system and cardiovascular system by temporarily decreasing tiredness and increasing alertness. According to Dr. Postuma, sleepiness is commonly associated with Parkinson's disease. "We wanted to discover how caffeine could impact sleepiness as well as the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as slowness of movement, muscle stiffness, shaking and loss of balance."
The researchers followed a group of 61 people with Parkinson's. While the control group received a placebo pill, the other group received a 100 mg dose of caffeine twice a day for three weeks and then 200 mg twice a day for another three weeks.