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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Having Fun Prevents Parkinson's

Hey, I didn't run the study, I'm just reporting the news.
People with Parkinson's disease are less likely to be smokers and coffee drinkers than their healthy siblings, according to a study of family members. The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that some substance in tobacco might protect the brain against this devastating neurological disorder and sheds new light on coffee's effects on the disease

[...]

Exactly why smoking and consuming coffee had an inverse association with Parkinson's disease remains largely unclear.

Dopamine link
One possible mechanism involves a signalling chemical in the brain called dopamine. The death of dopamine-producing cells in the brain appears to drive the progression of Parkinson's disease, and both smoking and drinking coffee can raise levels of the chemical.

Scientists have also found some evidence that a substance in tobacco smoke may boost dopamine levels by blocking the production of toxins that poison dopamine-producing cells (see Why the wicked weed wards off Parkinson's).
Full article here.

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