How caffeine levels can detect early Parkinson’s disease

written by Meena Azzollini

caffeine levels detect early Parkinson’s disease

Credit:123RF

Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating disease which affects the ability to move your limbs and to control your movements. It currently affects 40,000 Australians.

A large number of studies have been conducted to investigate this neurodegenerative disease and several studies have shown a link between caffeine consumption and a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

But it’s unclear how caffeine metabolises within patients with the disease.

People with more severe stages of Parkinson’s did not have lower levels of caffeine suggesting that the decrease occurs from the earliest stages of the disease.

To study this, researchers conducted a study which involved 108 people who had Parkinson’s disease for an average of about six years. The study also included 31 people of about the same age but they did not have the disease.

The blood of the participants was tested for the levels of caffeine and 11 metabolites that the body makes to metabolise caffeine.

They also tested for gene mutations which can affect caffeine metabolism.

The two groups consumed the same amount of caffeine– which was equivalent to two cups of coffee per day.

The blood in patients with Parkinson’s disease contained significantly lower levels of caffeine and nine of the 11 metabolites.

Caffeine levels were measured at 79 picomoles per 10 microliters for people without Parkinson’s disease, while the levels of the group with the disease were 24 picomoles per 10 microliters.

The levels of one of the metabolites was below that amount that could be detected on more than 50 percent of the people with Parkinson’s disease.

People with more severe stages of Parkinson’s did not have lower levels of caffeine suggesting that the decrease occurs from the earliest stages of the disease.

In the genetic analysis, no differences were found in caffeine-related genes in both the groups.

Statistically, the researchers found that the results point to an easy test such as the one conducted in the study to test early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The researchers could reliably identify people with Parkinson’s disease with a score of 0.98 where a score of 1 means that all cases are identified correctly.

Although there are some limitations in this study – people were severe Parkinson’s disease were not included in their study and that people with the disease were taking medication which could affect the metabolism of caffeine – testing the levels of caffeine in the blood may provide a simple method of diagnosing early Parkinson’s disease.

Source: Neurology


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Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!