You could be fighting against Parkinson's disease without knowing it

Many around the world can’t start their days without it. Turns out, that cup of coffee you require to kickstart your mornings could actually help in a major way in the battle against Parkinson’s Disease.

Researchers say compounds found in caffeine show promise in fighting the wasting effects of Parkinson’s disease.

They say that a combination of caffeine and another component prevented the miscues between neurons that result in loss of muscle control.

A number of studies have suggested caffeine has the potential to slow Parkinson’s disease. Researchers have built on these findings, creating caffeine-based compounds that could halt the protein clumping associated with Parkinson’s development.

Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder that affects movement and control and is part of a group of conditions called motor-system disorders, associated with the death of dopamine-producing brain cells.

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Dopamine allows neurons to “talk” to each other allowing the body to process communication. In Parkinson’s sufferers, these dopamine-producing neurons die off, and a crucial protein — called AS — involved in dopamine regulation, clumps together, causing miscommunication resulting in the loss of muscle control.

Researchers combined caffeine, which showed protective qualities in previous studies, with other components that show promise, including nicotine, the diabetes drug metformin, and aminoindan, which is similar to the Parkinson’s drug rasagiline.

Tests on cells in the laboratory, with caffeine combined with another agent, prevented the AS protein from clumping, allowing the cells to grow normally.

Jeremy Lee, a biochemist from the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine, and Ed Krol from the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition led the research team. Lee said the results were encouraging: “Our results . . . show promise in preventing the progression of Parkinson’s disease.”

The team’s findings are published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

Do you drink coffee? Do you know anyone affected by Parkinson’s disease?