A combination of caffeine and the genetic variant in GRIN2A is effective in keeping Parkinson's disease at bay, a new study finds.
An association between coffee and Parkinson's disease has been determined by scientists. However, a new study throws more light on how coffee can help protect against the disease. Researchers from the Linköping University in Sweden found that a variant of the GRIN2A gene reduces the risk of the disease, especially among those that drink plenty of coffee.
The researchers explained the procedure in detail. Caffeine integrates with a dopamine receptor that regulates the flow of calcium. Dopamine controls the brain's pleasure and reward centre and researchers have debated that individuals with certain genetic variations are not "rewarded" to the same extent by a cup of coffee, and therefore, do not enjoy the same protective effect as others. The newly published study shows that GRIN2A can be a part of such a genetic predisposition.
Parkinson's is a degenerative brain disease that causes tremors, difficulty in walking, movement and coordination. The condition most commonly develops in adults over 50, and occurs when nerve cells in the brain that make the muscle-controlling neurotransmitter dopamine are slowly destroyed, leading to loss in muscle function. The cause of the disease remains unknown.
A 2012 study also confirmed that caffeine is effective in easing Parkinson's symptoms. The researchers found those in the caffeine group averaged a three-point improvement in the speed of their movements and the amount of stiffness they experienced, compared to their caffeine-free counterparts.
Earlier this year, Cornell University researchers found that drinking one cup of coffee a day reduced retinal damage risk. It prevents deterioration of eyesight and possible blindness as a result of retinal degeneration due to various reasons including glaucoma, aging and diabetes.
A very recent study also found that drinking three or more cups of coffee reduces type 2 diabetes risks by more than 37 percent. Prior to this, researchers found that four or more cups of coffee a day can reduce liver cancer risk by up to 42 percent.
Another study highlighted that consuming two or more cups of coffee could reduce the risk of liver cirrhosis by up to 66 percent. Other health benefits including protecting against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver diseases have been linked to coffee consumption.
More than 83 percent of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee daily. The average coffee consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups a day.
The new study was published online in the scientific journal PLOS One. The research was funded by the Foundation for Parkinson's Research at Linköping University, Sweden.