Prof. Ronald Postuma, University of Montreal: “Coffee is not only a protective factor for the development of the disease, but also acts as a drug that can potentially delay its development once the symptoms have appeared.”
Rome, June 9, 2022 – The expression of the risk and / or protective factors for Parkinson’s disease has long been the subject of studies by neurologists at the Italian Neurological Association (SIN). In particular, the consumption of coffee seems to have a protective character, says the chairman of the Italian Neurological Association prof. Alfredo Berardelli from the University of Sapienza in Rome, one of the universities that participated in a recent study coordinated by one of the Italian pioneers in this type of research: Giovanni Defazio from the University of Cagliari.
A similar beneficial effect also has a moderate daily physical activity before the onset of the disease with an improvement especially of non-motor symptoms such as pain, incontinence, orthostatic hypotension, constipation, sleep disorders, fatigue, anxiety, depression, etc.
The study, which was also attended by the universities of Bari, Catania and Verona, as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, the Department of Neurology at ASST Pavia-Voghera and the IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli, was just published on Parkinson’s and related diseases indicates how a previously moderate consumption of coffee delays the age at which the disease debuts, but induces less severe symptoms.
Also another Italian study published 2 years ago Neurobiology of the disease had identified between 11 risk and / or protective factors that could potentially affect the development of Parkinson’s disease, caffeine and physical activity that could improve its progression if present before the onset of symptoms.
Defazio’s first study was presented at the 2017 national conference of the Limpe-Dismov Academy for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders: a review of 797 studies showing a protective nature:
- physical activity
Not a single Parkinson’s
An important result of this series of studies, says prof. Defazio, is that the distribution of the different possible risk factors identified (eg familiarity with Parkinson’s disease, dyspepsia, etc.) is not uniform, but these can occur in different ways, which identifies different etiological subtypes.
This supports the possibility (which has often been raised in recent years) that there is not just one but several Parkinson’s diseases with different etiologies and probably different evolutions, each of which responds to different risk and / or protective factors.
Caffeine that pulled
One author who has studied the effects of caffeine on this disease extensively is Ronald Postuma at the University of Montreal, according to which coffee is not only a protective factor for the development of the disease, but also acts as a drug that can potentially delay its evolution, once the symptoms have shown himself.
We are still in the realm of strong probabilities – comments Defazio – Our research shows an obvious biological plausibility from an epidemiological point of view according to which certain factors, such as pesticides, are at risk, while others, such as physical activity or coffee, are protective, but tea , vitamin E or NSAIDs also seem to be.
It is still necessary to understand how to control the effect of each of these factors for a better risk reduction: other authors have already seen, for example, how not all doses of caffeine are effective in the same way. Above all, care must be taken not to get the impression from these studies that coffee is a kind of neuroprotective panacea, as there is still much to study.
It can be said that coffee can not only prevent the disease (as our previous studies indicate), but also delay the onset of onset and probably also induce a slower development of motor symptoms.