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02/16/2006 - News

Risk takers less likely to have Parkinson's disease

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Risk takers less likely to have Parkinson's disease

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

A study shows a link between sensation-seeking behavior and reduced risk of Parkinson's disease.
The underlying cause of Parkinson's disease - a movement disorder originating in the brain - is not known. Researchers at the University of London have just carried out a new study on personality traits and behavior to see if they can find out more.

They compared 106 patients with Parkinson's disease with a group of 106 healthy people of the same age. Information was also collected on cigarette smoking and on caffeine and alcohol intake. Previous research has suggested that nicotine and caffeine can protect against Parkinson's disease.

The researchers found that those with Parkinson's disease scored lower on sensation seeking and risk taking behavior and higher on anxiety and depression. They were also less likely to have ever smoked and drank less coffee and alcohol than those in the healthy group. When smoking, alcohol and coffee were taken account of, the link between the disinclination to sensation seeking and Parkinson's disease remained. The researchers think that the link between behavior and Parkinson's disease might be explained by the dopamine system in the brain. For dopamine is involved in both sensation seeking and in movement problems.

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2006 Volume 77 pages 317-321

Created on: 02/16/2006
Reviewed on: 02/16/2006

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Anonymous wrote 1 day 9 hours ago

This study seems meaningless! Of course those that HAVE PD are less likely to be tsensation- seekers and as having higher rates of anxiety and depression - NOW - that proves nothing! The study should have compared the life-styles and temperments of the PD patients IN THE PAST, and compared that to the 'healthy' subjects activities IN THE PAST to have any relavance.

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