Monitor the levels of caffeine present in the saliva of Parkinson’s patients to understand how the neurological pathology evolves. In fact, those who suffer from moderate or advanced Parkinson’s have lower salivary concentrations of caffeine. This is what emerges from a study conducted by the group of Alfredo Berardelli of the Irccs Neuromed of Pozzilli (Isernia) and of the Sapienza University of Rome, published in ‘Scientific Reports’ (Nature group). Results that, according to the authors, “could pave the way for a rapid and non-invasive method to monitor disease progression“.
“Taking caffeine is known to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease – explains Giorgio Leodori by Neuromed and Sapienza, first author of the work – In the research we studied 86 patients who were at different stages of the disease and we compared them with a control group made up of 83 healthy subjects of the same age group. In patients with Parkinson’s disease and in control subjects, the level of absorption of caffeine, its metabolism and finally the amount of caffeine present in saliva were evaluated “.
The results, summarizes a note, showed that “the absorption and metabolism of caffeine were similar in patients and control subjects. On the contrary, the level of caffeine in saliva was lower in patients with moderate or advanced Parkinson’s disease than in the control group“.
“We do not yet know clearly what may be the causes of the different concentration of caffeine between patients and controls, given that we have not observed alterations in absorption or metabolism in the patients studied – remarks Leodori – Further studies will be necessary to clarify this aspect. which however emerges from our work is that the measurement of caffeine in saliva can be a valuable tool to define more precisely the stage at which Parkinson’s disease is located and follow its progression. We are therefore faced with a potential ‘biomarker’, useful for clinicians who follow patients “.
“But in addition to this – adds the researcher – our results suggest that caffeine could play a role in the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Deepening the mechanisms that link caffeine and Parkinson’s disease could lead to new knowledge on the genesis and development of a such a significant pathology, both for the quality of life of the people affected and for the burden on the National Health Service “.