Caffeine and Parkinson’s Relief

August 6, 2012

Up to six weeks of daily caffeine consumption may improve motor function in Parkinson’s disease patients.

Up to six weeks of daily caffeine consumption may improve motor function in Parkinson’s disease patients, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

Canadian researchers assigned 61 subjects with Parkinson’s disease to 100 mg of caffeine twice daily for three weeks or placebo, followed by 200 mg twice daily for another three weeks or an equivalent placebo. The researchers assessed caffeine’s effect on daytime drowsiness, motor severity, and other health functions in subjects.

While caffeine intake was only linked to nonsignificant reductions in Epworth Sleepiness Scale scores (-1.71 points), caffeine intake reduced total Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale scores by an average 4.69 points and motor components of the rating scale by 3.15 points. Adverse events were comparable in caffeine and placebo groups.

“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, MSc, from McGill University in Montreal and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center.