Caffeine improves motor symptoms in Parkinson's patients, study finds

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While previous research has tied caffeine intake to Parkinson's disease prevention, a newly released study shows it has promise for improving the disease's most common symptoms.

In a randomized trial of 61 Parkinson's patients, participants that took 200-milligram caffeine tablets (roughly the equivalent of three cups of coffee) two times per day, saw their motor symptoms — such as slow movement and stiffness — become less disruptive than those who took a placebo pill. Participants who were given caffeine also saw improvement with daytime sleepiness, though the improvement was not statistically noteworthy. Investigators said they would expect to see this result become more pronounced in a larger trial.

Parkinson's patients with irregular heart rhythms or uncontrolled blood pressure should consult a physician before trying it, investigators said.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at McGill University in Montreal, was published online on Aug. 1, in the journal Neurology.