Could smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee protect you from Parkinson's disease?
That's the startling suggestion of a new US study of families that also found NSAID use has no impact on the disease risk.
Previous studies have reported that consuming caffeine, smoking and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen may help prevent Parkinson's disease, according to background information in the study. But there's been little family-based research done to examine these links.
The new study, led by researcher Dana B. Hancock of Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, North Carolina, included 356 Parkinson's patients (averaging about 66 years of age) and 317 of their family members (averaging almost 64 years of age).
Smoking seems to protect
The people with Parkinson's disease were 44 percent less likely to report ever smoking and 70 percent less likely to report current smoking compared with unaffected relatives, the study authors found.
"Increasing intensity of coffee drinking was inversely associated with Parkinson's disease," they added. "Increasing dosage and intensity of total caffeine consumption were also inversely associated, with high dosage presenting a significant inverse association with Parkinson's disease."
The study found no link between NSAID use and Parkinson's disease.
The findings are published in the April issue of the journal Archives of Neurology.
Mechanism still a mystery
It's not known how smoking or caffeine consumption may help reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
"Given the complexity of Parkinson's disease, these environmental factors likely do not exert their effects in isolation, thus highlighting the importance of gene-environment interactions in determining Parkinson's disease susceptibility," the study authors wrote. "Smoking and caffeine possibly modify genetic effects in families with Parkinson's disease and should be considered as effect modifiers in candidate gene studies for Parkinson's disease." – (HealthDayNews)
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