...Study re­futes myth that a jolt of caf­feine can re­lieve de­bil­i­tat­ing symp­toms

Swazi Observer - - FEATURES & OPINION -

COF­FEE may not re­lieve the symp­toms of Parkin­son's dis­ease after all, a new study sug­gests.

Re­search pub­lished in the jour­nal Neu­rol­ogy in 2012 sug­gested that caf­feine may help re­duce move­ment symp­toms for peo­ple with Parkin­son's dis­ease.

How­ever, a more in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion has shown that the bev­er­age did noth­ing to al­le­vi­ate suf­fer­ers' crip­pling symp­toms.

Study au­thor Dr Ron­ald Pos­tuma, of McGill Univer­sity in Canada, said, “Caf­feine, which is so safe and in­ex­pen­sive, has been linked to a re­duced risk of de­vel­op­ing Parkin­son's.

“So it was ex­cit­ing to think that it could pos­si­bly help peo­ple who al­ready have the dis­ease.”

The new study in­volved 121 peo­ple with an aver­age age of 62 who had been di­ag­nosed with Parkin­son's for an aver­age of four years.

Of those, half were given a 200mil­ligram cap­sule of caf­feine twice daily, once in the morn­ing and once after lunch, the equiv­a­lent of three cups of cof­fee per day, while the other half were given placebo cap­sules. To help them ad­just to the caf­feine, the dose was in­creased slowly, start­ing with placebo and reach­ing 200 mil­ligrams at week nine. The study par­tic­i­pants were fol­lowed for six to 18 months.

The re­searchers found there was no im­prove­ment in move­ment symp­toms for peo­ple who had taken the caf­feine cap­sules com­pared to those who took the placebo cap­sules. There was also no dif­fer­ence in qual­ity of life. Be­cause of the find­ings show­ing no ben­e­fit from tak­ing caf­feine, the study was stopped.

Dr Pos­tuma added: “While our pre­vi­ous study showed pos­si­ble im­prove­ment in symp­toms, that study was shorter, so it's pos­si­ble that caf­feine may have a short­term ben­e­fit that quickly dis­si­pates.

“Re­gard­less, our core find­ing is that caf­feine can­not be rec­om­mended as ther­apy for move­ment symp­toms of Parkin­son's dis­ease.”

Dr Charles Hall, of Al­bert Ein­stein Col­lege of Medicine who wrote a commentary on the study for Neu­rol­ogy, said: “It is im­por­tant that promis­ing leads be stud­ied.

“It is also im­por­tant that the dis­ap­point­ing find­ings like th­ese be shared so new re­search can fo­cus on other pos­si­ble treat­ments in­stead.”

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