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J Neurol Sci. 2003 Dec 15;216(1):163-7.

Dose-dependent protective effect of coffee, tea, and smoking in Parkinson's disease: a study in ethnic Chinese.

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Department of Neurology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore.



Few studies have examined the relationship of coffee and tea in Parkinson's disease (PD). The potential protective effect of coffee intake and risk of PD has not been studied in a Chinese population. There is a high prevalence of caffeine takers among Chinese in our population.


We undertook a case control study to examine the relationship between coffee and tea drinking, cigarette smoking, and other enviromental factors and risk of PD among ethnic Chinese in our population.


300 PD and 500 population controls were initially screened. Two hundred case control pairs matched for age, gender, and race were finally included in the analysis. Univariate analysis revealed significant association of PD with coffee drinking (p<0.0005), tea drinking (p=0.019), alcohol drinking (p=0.001), cigarette smoking (p<0.0005), and exposure to heavy metals (p=0.006). Conditional logistic regression analysis demonstrated that amount of coffee drunk (OR 0.787, 95%CI 0.664-0.932, p=0.006), amount of tea drunk (OR 0.724, 95%CI 0.559-0.937, p=0.014), number of cigarettes smoked (OR 0.384, 95%CI 0.204-0.722, p=0.003), history of heavy metal and toxin exposure (OR 11.837, 95%CI 1.075-130.366, p=0.044), and heart disease (OR 5.518, 95%CI 1.377-22.116, p=0.016) to be significant factors associated with PD. One unit of coffee and tea (3 cups/day for 10 years) would lead to a 22% and 28% risk reduction of PD. One unit of cigarette smoke (3 packs/day for 10 years) reduced the risk of PD by 62%.


We demonstrated a dose-dependent protective effect of PD in coffee and tea drinkers and smokers in an ethnic Chinese population. A history of exposure to heavy metals increased the risk of PD, supporting the multifactorial etiologies of the disease.

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