Parkinson’s disease is characterized by muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech. Currently, the condition has no cure, but when news broke in 2012 that coffee could relieve the symptoms, patients thought they could turn to the beverage for a solution.
A new study saved them from false hopes. Dr. Ronald Postuma, an associate professor of neurology at the McGill University Health Center in Canada discovered that coffee does not ease the disease’s symptoms.
Caffeine’s Effect on Parkinson’s Patients
The 2012 research only studied short-term results on a small group of patients. On the other hand, Dr. Postuma’s study watched how 121 patients fared six to 18 months after the trials. They were sorted into two groups which were given either caffeine capsules or a placebo.
At the six-week mark, the caffeine capsules seemed to be working according to the initial study’s results. But after a few more months, researchers found that the conditions of the two groups were just the same. Caffeine, they concluded, was not an effective answer to Parkinson’s disease.
Importance of Follow-up Studies and Dull Findings
According to Charles Hall, a professor of epidemiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, it’s difficult to provide evidence when a study only has a few participants over a short period. Sometimes, it can be too early to establish results. He also stressed the importance of follow-up studies that would verify the results of previous studies.
Additionally, he says that if results were not what researchers hoped for, they still need to publish them. The scientific community needs to learn about what’s not effective, so they could start the search for other possible cures.
Continued Search for a Cure for Parkinson’s
Fortunately, experts have developed ways to help ease the symptoms, no coffee involved. The Rx Solution, a company that helps cover prescription costs, cites Apokyn, for example, which is a drug that mimics the effect of dopamine. It reduces shakiness, stiffness, and unsteadiness.
Even though caffeine’s therapeutic effect for the disease has been debunked, patients still have other options available that could help them cope with the disease. It wasn’t all for nothing, though. These debunked claims and results are all useful on the journey towards the discovery of a cure.