Recent research read by the Sonoma Parkinson’s care experts at Home Care Assistance demonstrates how coffee–more specifically, the caffeine in coffee–may be helpful for seniors with Parkinson’s disease. A randomized controlled trial reported that patients who consumed the equivalent of four cups of coffee per day had significant improvements in their ability to move.
Caregivers in Sonoma have likely noticed that seniors with Parkinson’s disease often experience difficulties sleeping, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness. In a study published by Neurology, researchers set out to see if daily caffeine could improve alertness and help with excessive daytime sleepiness. The patients were randomized to take either a placebo or 200mg of caffeine in the morning and then again at lunchtime. For comparison, a typical cup of coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine. Although the study found little effect of the caffeine on daytime sleepiness, it did improve several measures of motor function. The most dramatic was an improvement in bradykinesia symptoms. Bradykinesia means slowness of movement, and it is an overwhelming symptom of Parkinson’s disease.
Caffeine is known to antagonize the adenosine-2A receptor in the brain. Adenosine receptors form heterodimers with dopamine receptors, and thereby down-regulate dopamine-stimulated activity in the brain. Lack of dopamine in the brain is well-known to be involved in many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. If caffeine can block the function of some of the adenosine receptors, the dopamine pathways can become more active. It is also possible that caffeine improves the bioavailability of levodopa, the primary drug used to boost the amount of dopamine in the brains of seniors with Parkinson’s disease.
Various studies in animal models of Parkinson’s disease have consistently reported that caffeine improves the animals’ symptoms. In fact, several studies have even reported that regular, lifelong high intake of coffee can reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in the first place.
If you need help managing your loved one’s complex care needs, visit http://www.homecareassistancesonomacounty.com or give us a call at (707) 843.4368. We are a trusted provider of Parkinson’s care, and also offer specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Sonoma. Our experienced Care Managers are available 24/7 to answer questions or schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.