Study: Less Parkinson's in Smokers
Smoking, Caffeine May Protect Against Parkinson's Disease
April 9, 2007 -- A study of families with Parkinson's disease shows that
smoking and caffeine use protect against the deadly brain disorder.
Previous studies suggested that people with Parkinson's disease are more
likely than other people to be smokers and coffee drinkers.
To see if this is true, Dana B. Hancock and William K. Scott, PhD, studied
356 people with Parkinson's disease and 317 of their family members. By using
family members as a control group, the researchers were able to look at people
with similar genetic, environmental, and behavioral characteristics.
They found that Parkinson's patients were 44% less likely than their family
members ever to have smoked. They were also 42% less likely to be high-level
The common painkillers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDs) -- which include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin -- have also been
found to protect against Parkinson's. But Hancock and colleagues found no link
between painkiller use and Parkinson's.
How might cigarettes and caffeine protect a person from Parkinson's? Nobody
knows. But Parkinson's disease runs in families, suggesting that genetic
effects play a role. Smoking and caffeine use may interfere with these effects,
Hancock and colleagues suggest.
The findings appear in the April issue of Archives of Neurology. The
research came from Duke University in Durham, N.C. Hancock and Scott are now at
the University of Miami.