Coffee has been consistently shown when drunk in large amounts to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s. Also, patients who smoke cigarettes have a lower risk of Parkinson’s. It has been hard to understand why this should be so, but recent studies point to the fact that Parkinson’s disease patients, because they have less dopamine in the brain, tend not to have “addictive personalities” and tend not to smoke cigarettes. If they do, they find it much easier to stop than people without Parkinson’s or those who do not develop Parkinson’s in the future.

Now, 2 widely used antidiabetic drugs in the glitazone category, including Avandia and Actos, seem to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s. This large study included over 44,000 people using the glitazone medications compared to 120,000 using other antidiabetic medications.

The point is not to put everyone on these medications to prevent Parkinson’s. Rather, it is to understand why these beneficial effects do occur and use this information to help develop treatments and especially neuroprotection for patients who already have Parkinson’s.

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