Parkinson: Risk of illness is one-third lower in coffee consumers

A current Portuguese meta-analysis of 37 studies shows that coffee protects against Parkinson’s. Men and women benefit equally. The protective effects of coffee are meanwhile being proven in more and more disorders, experts reported at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Berlin.

Berlin, 23 June 2015 – Coffee consumers seem to be better protected against the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease than non-coffee drinkers. This conclusion was reached by an extensive Portuguese meta-analysis which was presented at the 1st Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Berlin. More than 6,500 experts from all over the world are discussing the newest developments in their field in the German capital city from 20 to 23 June.

„According to available data, coffee drinkers reduce their risk of developing Parkinson’s by almost one third, to be precise by 31 percent“, study author Dr Filipe Brogueira Rodrigues of the Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon (Portugal) reported. Following a systematic review of 37 studies from all over the world, it is regarded as confirmed: „Men and women benefit equally from the effects of caffeine.“ There are many possible explanations for this. It is primarily assumed that caffeine interacts with the neurotransmitter adenosine. Dr Filipe Brogueira Rodrigues: „This may have neuroprotective effects on specific brain regions which play an important role in relation to Parkinson’s.“ This was already tested in animal models, but proof is still awaited in humans.

By the way, coffee drinkers gain better protection against more than Parkinson’s. As other studies have indicated, they are also less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, stroke, depression, Alzheimer’s, liver cirrhosis or liver cancer due to caffeine consumption. The factor linking these disorders is not yet sufficiently researched. A joint factor might be that they are all chronic and linked to cell degeneration in one way or another.

„The results of this important meta analytic study reported at the EAN Congress confirm the finding that caffeine exposure is associated with a reduction in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). Better understanding of environmental factors which reduce or increase the risk of developing PD is crucial to safeguard against developing this disorder”, Prof Kailash Bhatia from the Institute of Neurology, UCL, London and Chair of the EAN Subspecialty Committee on Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, commented the presentation. However, he added that further work was needed to understand the mechanism of this apparent protective effect of caffeine exposure.

Source: EAN-Abstract Brogueira Rodrigues et al, Caffeine exposure and the risk of Parkinson’s disease: an update of a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

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