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HEALTH > Caffeine may provide relief in Parkinson

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A new study found people with Parkinson’s disease who took caffeine pills saw slight but noticeable improvements in movement problems related to the Parkinson disease. The findings warrant further study, Canadian researchers said. And there are still questions - such as if patients would develop a caffeine tolerance, eventually blunting the benefits of coffee or caffeine pills.

“It’s a bit too early to say, ‘Everybody should be drinking coffee,’” said lead researcher Dr. Ronald Postuma, from McGill University in Montreal. “Does it really make a difference over years of Parkinson’s disease? I don’t think we know.”

Still, he said, caffeine is generally safe, so it could be worth trying for some patients with Parkinson’s who aren’t doing great and also have trouble with sleepiness.

There’s no cure for the disease, but some medications can make symptoms less severe.

For the new study, Postuma assigned 61 people with Parkinson’s and in their mid-60s, on average, to six weeks of caffeine pills or identical drug-free placebo pills. Participants in the caffeine group took 100 milligrams when they woke up and again after lunch for the first three weeks, then were bumped up to 200 milligrams twice a day for the rest of the study.

After the study period, the group did improve on an overall scale of Parkinson’s symptoms.

August/03/2012

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