Saturday April 20, 2019

Coffee can predict Parkinson’s disease

The team involved 108 people who had Parkinson's disease for an average of about six years and 31 people of the same age who did not have the disease and consumed about two cups of coffee per day

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Parkinson’s disease is named after Dr James Parkinson (1755-1824), the doctor that first identified the condition. Wikimedia commons
Parkinson’s disease is named after Dr James Parkinson (1755-1824), the doctor that first identified the condition. Wikimedia commons

A neurodegenerative disorder which leads to progressive deterioration of motor function due to loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Yes, that’s Parkinson’s disease. Quite horrifying, isn’t it?

However, there maybe a chance of predicting it.

The way your body metabolises your cup of coffee each morning may determine your chances of developing Parkinson’s disease.

The reason that Parkinson’s disease develops is not known. Wikimedia commons
The reason that Parkinson’s disease develops is not known. Wikimedia commons

Findings

  • People with Parkinson’s disease had significantly lower levels of caffeine in their blood than people without the disease, even if they consumed the same amount of caffeine.
  • Thus, testing the level of caffeine in the blood may provide a simple way to aid the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, the researchers said.

“Previous studies have shown a link between caffeine and a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, but we haven’t known much about how caffeine metabolises within the people with the disease,” said Shinji Saiki, MD at the Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo.

“If these results can be confirmed, they would point to an easy test for early diagnosis of Parkinson’s, possibly even before symptoms are appearing,” added David G. Munoz, MD, at the University of Toronto.

“This is important because Parkinson’s disease is difficult to diagnose, especially at the early stages,” Munoz noted.

The main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremor, slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and muscle stiffness or rigidity. Wikimedia commons
The main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremor, slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and muscle stiffness or rigidity. Wikimedia commons

Methodology

  • The team involved 108 people who had Parkinson’s disease for an average of about six years and 31 people of the same age who did not have the disease and consumed about two cups of coffee per day.
  • Their blood was tested for caffeine and for 11 byproducts the body makes as it metabolises caffeine. They were also tested for mutations in genes that can affect caffeine metabolism.
  • The caffeine level was an average of 79 picomoles per 10 microliters for people without Parkinson’s disease, compared to 24 picomoles per 10 microliters for people with the disease.
  • However, there were no differences found in the caffeine-related genes between the two groups.

The study was published in journal Neurology. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Develop, New Adhesive Patch That Can Minimize Heart Attack Damage

For the research, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team tested the patch with rats and showed that the patch could be effective in reducing post-heart attack damage. 

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The researchers said the patch, which costs "less than a penny", has been optimised using a computer model of the heart to perfectly match the material's mechanical properties. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new adhesive patch that could reduce the stretching of cardiac muscle following a heart attack.

Developed by a team of researchers from Brown University, US; Fudan University, China and Soochow University, China, the patch is made from a water-based hydrogel material and can be placed directly on the heart to prevent left ventricular remodelling — a stretching of the heart muscle.

A heart attack puts the cardiac muscle at a risk of stretching out that can reduce the functioning of the heart’s main pumping chamber.

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The researchers say the initial results are promising for eventual use in human clinical trials. Pixabay

“Part of the reason that it’s hard for the heart to recover after a heart attack is that it has to keep pumping,” said co-author Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University.

“The idea here is to provide mechanical support for damaged tissue, which hopefully gives it a chance to heal,” he added.

The researchers said the patch, which costs “less than a penny”, has been optimised using a computer model of the heart to perfectly match the material’s mechanical properties.

“If the material is too hard or stiff, then you could confine the movement of the heart so that it can’t expand to the volume it needs to,” Gao said.

“But if the material is too soft, then it won’t provide enough support. So we needed some mechanical principles to guide us,” he pointed out.

For the research, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team tested the patch with rats and showed that the patch could be effective in reducing post-heart attack damage.

heart
A heart attack puts the cardiac muscle at a risk of stretching out that can reduce the functioning of the heart’s main pumping chamber. Pixabay

“The patch provided nearly optimal mechanical supports after myocardial infarction (i.e. massive death of cardiomyocytes),” said co-author Ning Sun, a cardiology researcher at Fudan University.

“[It] maintained a better cardiac output and thus greatly reduced the overload of those remaining cardiomyocytes and adverse cardiac remodelling.”

Also Read: China’s Political System Helps It To Take A Lead in Artificial Intelligence

The researchers say the initial results are promising for eventual use in human clinical trials.

“It remains to be seen if it will work in humans, but it’s very promising,” Gao said. (IANS)