Caffeine could have positive effects on movement control for people with Parkinson's disease, according to a small new study in the journal Neurology.
Study participants given caffeine scored better on tests for movement than people who were given a placebo, the McGill University researchers found.
"Although the results do not suggest that caffeine should be used as a treatment in Parkinson's disease, they can be taken into consideration when people with Parkinson's are discussing their caffeine use with their neurologist," Dr. Michael Schwarzschild, M.D., Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the new study, said in a statement.
The researchers split up 61 people with Parkinson's disease into two groups. One group took a placebo pill, while the other took a 100 milligram caffeine pill twice a day for a three-week period, then a 200 milligram caffeine pill twice a day for a three-week period. (The amount of caffeine in the pills was the same as about two to four cups of coffee.)
After the six weeks, the researchers had all of the study participants take a test for the severity of their disease. The people who took the caffeine pills scored five points better on the test than those who took the placebo.
"This is a modest improvement, but may be enough to provide benefit to patients. On the other hand, it may not be sufficient to explain the relationship between caffeine non-use and Parkinson's, since studies of the progression of Parkinson's symptoms early in the disease suggest that a five-point reduction would delay diagnosis by only six months," study researcher Dr. Ronald Postuma, M.D., M.Sc., of McGill, said in a statement.
Coffee has also been shown in previous studies to lower the risk of Parkinson's. The Telegraph reported on a review of studies on coffee and Parkinson's, showing that overall, drinking anywhere from two or three cups of coffee a day can decrease by the risk of Parkinson's disease by 25 percent.
And Reuters reported on a study in 2010 that suggested a specific gene may play a part in this decreased risk for some people.
For more of the health benefits of coffee, click through the slideshow:
The caffeine in coffee could actually help you to spot grammatical errors, according to a new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. Researchers found that caffeine helped students to correct errors in subject-verb agreement and verb tense, MSNBC reported. However, the caffeine still didn't seem to make a difference at identifying misspelled words -- sorry.
Women who drink a few cups of caffeinated coffee have a lower risk of depression than women who don't drink any coffee, according to a Harvard study. That research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day have a 15 percent lower risk, while women who drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a 20 percent lower risk. Study research Dr. Albert Ascherio told HuffPost earlier that "caffeine is known to affect the brain," because it "modulates the release of mood transmitters." "I'm not saying we're on the path to discovering a new way to prevent depression," he said. "But I think you can be reassured that if you are drinking coffee, it is coming out as a positive thing."
... Well, maybe. A study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease suggests that there's something in coffee -- though researchers have yet to determine what exactly that "something" is -- interacts with caffeine to boost the levels of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF), a growth factor that seems to be able to fight off Alzheimer's disease in mice. The amount of coffee needed in the study is equivalent to about four or five cups of coffee for humans. Researchers said GCSF likely has this effect because it causes stem cells in the bone marrow to come into the brain and remove the beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease. It also has a role in forming brain cell connections and creating new brain neurons, researchers said.
A Harvard School of Public Health study shows that men who drink six cups of coffee a day have a 60 percent decreased chance of developing a dangerous form of prostate cancer, as well as a 20 percent decreased chance of developing any other kinds of prostate cancer. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, also shows that just drinking just some coffee a day -- just one to three cups -- could still cut prostate cancer risk by 30 percent.
New research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference shows that coffee could help to ward off basal cell carcinoma, the most common cancer in the world. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that women who drink three or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day have a 20 percent lower risk of the skin cancer, while men had a 9 percent lower risk. Decaf coffee didn't seem to have the same protective effect -- so "our study shows that the inverse association with BCC appears due to caffeine, not other components in the coffee consumption," study researcher Fengju Song, Ph.D., earlier told HuffPost.
Drinking coffee is associated with a lower Type 2 diabetes risk, with more coffee consumption linked to a greater decrease in risk, according to an Archives of Internal Medicine review of studies from 2009. In that review, researchers looked at data from more than 450,000 people in 18 studies, and found that for every extra cup of coffee drank a day, a person's risk of Type 2 diabetes decreased by 7 percent. However, researchers cautioned that "the putative protective effects of these beverages warrant further investigation in randomized trials."
Drinking a few cups of coffee a day could lower the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by as much as 25 percent, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. In that review of studies, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers examined 26 studies that involved 125,000 British people, to find that two or three cups of coffee seemed to have the optimal effect, The Telegraph reported.
The benefits of coffee