Caffeine's Influence on Dopamine in Parkinson's - No Relief for Motor Symptoms

Caffeine's Influence on Dopamine in Parkinson's - No Relief for Motor Symptoms

A recent study has revealed that heavy coffee consumption results in lower dopamine activity in the striatum, a brain region significantly affected by Parkinson’s disease. Despite caffeine's reputation for neuroprotection and its association with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s, the findings indicate that high caffeine intake does not alleviate motor symptoms in newly diagnosed, untreated Parkinson’s patients. Conducted by researchers at the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, the study involved 163 early-stage Parkinson’s patients and 40 healthy controls. Dopamine activity was measured using DaT-SPECT imaging, with results showing reduced dopamine levels in heavy coffee drinkers. Importantly, caffeine consumption before imaging was found to temporarily enhance dopamine activity, suggesting the need for caffeine abstinence prior to such tests. Long-term analysis over 6.1 years confirmed the sustained lower dopamine activity in high-caffeine consumers. Despite caffeine's potential benefits in reducing Parkinson's risk, the study concludes it offers no symptomatic relief for those already diagnosed.

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