Parkinson's Disease Study

Middle-aged men who drink one or two glasses of pasteurized milk a day may double their risk of Parkinson's disease later in life, according to a recent study. Researchers are uncertain what is causing the link, whether it is an ingredient or a contaminant in the milk, but they believe it is not related to the calcium content.

The thirty-year study followed over 7,500 men between the ages of forty-five and sixty-eight who were part of a Honolulu Heart Program. During the study, 128 men developed Parkinson's disease, which is a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

Specifically, those who drank more than sixteen ounces of milk each day were 2.3 times more likely to develop Parkinson's than those who didn't drink any milk. During each twelve-month period, 6.9 cases of Parkinson's would be expected per 10,000 people who drank no milk; however, among those who drank more than sixteen ounces daily, 14.9 cases per 10,000 people would be expected. Overall, however, researchers pointed out that the Parkinson's risk was still very low, even among the men who drank a lot of milk.

The findings match those from a previous study that discovered eating a large amount of dairy products increased the risk of Parkinson's in men (interestingly, the findings did not apply to women). In each study, no link between calcium and Parkinson's was found, so researchers believe another component or possible contaminant in the milk is responsible. Further studies will be needed to determine what that component may be, but I have to wonder if any "diet sweeteners" were also in the fridge.

March 22, 2005;64(6):1047-1051

Posted July 2005 | Permanent Link

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