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Caffeine may improve Parkinson movement

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Caffeine may offer promise to patients with Parkinson disease, according to a small study published in Neurology.

Caffeine may offer promise to patients with Parkinson disease (PD) by easing movement symptoms, according to a small study published in Neurology.

Although studies have linked caffeine with lower risk of PD, the effects have not been evaluated on symptoms, wrote Ronald B. Postuma, MD, MSc, from the Department of Neurology at McGill University, Montreal General Hospital, in Montreal, and colleagues.

The researchers conducted a 6-week randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effects of caffeine on daytime somnolence, motor severity, and other nonmotor features. They followed 61 patients diagnosed with PD - 30 of whom were given caffeine pills 100 mg twice a day for 3 weeks, then 200 mg twice a day for 3 weeks; and 31 of whom were given a matching placebo.

Although the study offered no evidence that caffeine up to 200 mg twice a day for 6 weeks would significantly impact excessive daytime sleepiness as evaluated by the Epworth Sleepiness Scale score, nor were there changes in quality of life, depression, or sleep quality, the researchers did find that caffeine reduced the total Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale score (−4.69 points; −7.7, −1.6) and the objective motor component (−3.15 points; −5.50, −0.83).

Although the results are modest, the researchers concluded that “these potential motor benefits suggest that a larger, long-term trial of caffeine is warranted.”

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