A recent study co-authored by Evergreen Healthcare neurologist Dr. Pinky Agarwal finds good news for coffee drinkers: consuming caffeinated coffee may significantly reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease in some individuals depending on their genetics, according to research recently published by the Public Library of Science.
Parkinson's disease, which affects more than 50,000 Americans each year, is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement. According to the study, researchers identified a connection between coffee's protective qualities and a gene known as GRIN2A, which regulates brain signals that control movement and behavior.
On average, heavy coffee drinkers were found to have a 27% lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, regardless of the genes they carry. The risk was even less for heavy coffee drinkers who carry a specific variation of GRIN2A, with a 59% lower chance.
"Researchers have long studied the relationship between coffee and Parkinson's disease with results often showing that all people do not benefit equally from consuming varying amounts of caffeinated coffee,” said Agarwal. “Through this study, we have proven the benefits of using genetic evidence to determine new risk factors for Parkinson's. We think the results will contribute to more personalized treatment for and prevention of this disease."
Agarwal co-authored the study alongside a team of nationally recognized specialists within a range of fields including oncology, epidemiology, neurology, genetics and environmental health studies.