Saturday, May 25

Researchers identify certain factors that affect Parkinson’s disease progression


Researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine studied how lifestyle factors can influence Parkinson's disease for patients. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine studied how lifestyle factors can influence Parkinson's disease for patients. (Daily Bruin file photo)


UCLA researchers found several lifestyle factors can protect Parkinson’s patients from worsening motor and cognitive functions.

The study, published in the Journal of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, evaluated how diverse lifestyles may impact the progression and survival of Parkinson’s disease patients.

Parkinson’s disease affects nerve cells, causing deterioration of coordination and movement in a process called neurodegeneration. The disease is progressive, meaning the symptoms worsen as more neurons are destroyed. It causes involuntary tremors, slowed movement, rigidity and impaired balance in patients.

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are several treatment options available.

Regular consumption of coffee and caffeinated tea and moderate consumption of alcohol can protect against at least one outcome of worsening Parkinson’s disease, according to the study. Coffee consumption was correlated with a decreased risk of mortality and delayed progression of worsening motor and cognitive functions in patients who participated in the study. On the other hand, patients who never drank coffee were found to have had Parkinson’s for longer and to have been diagnosed at a younger age.

Moderate drinkers of alcohol were less likely to experience motor function deterioration than heavy drinkers and those who never drank liquor, according to the study.

The researchers also found that physical activity and participation in competitive sports protected against cognitive decline. In addition, smoking was associated with quickened cognitive decline and increased risk of mortality, which contrasts with prior studies.

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