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Finnish study: Smoking and drinking coffee might prevent Parkinson's disease (metropolitan.fi)
51 points by velmu on July 13, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 46 comments

There is a much cleaner, and safer drug that can reduce the chance of developing Parkinson's, and that is Deprenyl [1].

> Deprenyl protects the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons against selective neurotoxins (6-hydroxydopamine, MPTP, DSP-4) [2]

We know that environmental insults like solvent inhalation and most likely agricultural pesticides contribute to the loss of dopamine neurons in Parkinson's, it seems like Deprenyl has the ability to protect against the damage of some of these, as well as the effect of aging [3].

> These results suggest that (-)-deprenyl and related compounds may protect neurons from apoptosis and be applicable to delay the deterioration of neurons during advancing ageing and in neurodegenerative disorders. [3]

I myself take deprenyl, or its newer cousin azilect for this purpose. It also has the benefit of increasing dopamine and it's a much lower impact focus drug than psychostimulants like amphetamines.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3123604

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7669938

[3] http://www.selegiline.com/apop.html

are you doing this as a preventative measure? do you have a history of Parkinsons in your family or something?

Yes, completely preventive. I have two family members who developed it in their 70's.

I am 30.

Update because I can't reply re: self-experimenting:

Deprenyl is an incredibly well researched molecule, with a great safety profile. We also have a lot of reason to suspect amphetamines like adderall are neurotoxic to dopamine neurons, and hence my fervent belief that deprenyl should be a first line treatment for those wishing for enhanced focus, and amphetamines should be reserved for tougher cases.

Since you're only in your 30's, wouldn't it be better to help raise money and awareness for a cure rather than experiment on your body?


30-40 years is a lot of time for research.

Andy Grove is another famous person with the disease who's working hard to find treatments:


You can _both_ fund further research _and_ apply the research that’s already been done. In fact, if you’re not going to apply the already existing research, what’s the point of funding more? Are you going to apply the new research but not the current research?

And prevention is much cheaper than cure.

Well, there's no guarantee that it will do anything. Over 30 years, taking a supplement may lead to other problems, or it may become less effective when you really need it.

Personally, I'd probably wait until my early 50's. Hopefully, at the very least, in 20 years, they'll be able to detect and monitor the effects on the body with more precision.

At the very least, billions more in research will have been done.

..maybe, or 30-40 years from now we might not have made any progress, then what?

Let me take you back 30 years...


If you go back 40 years, the MRI wasn't even invented. In fact, there wasn't an Apple computer. The PC revolution was a few years away.

A lot will change in 30 years. Whether we're 10 years from the singularity, perhaps not, but technology is increasing at a more rapid pace.

Interesting. My dad was diagnosed young, but I don't have any of the Parkinsons markers according to 23andMe

My dad has submitted data to 23andMe as well, but unfortunately it didn't come with a free account. It was a special thing they were doing to collect Parkinson's data. So I have no idea if he has the markers.

If you can get the data, you can put it through Promethease.com for $5 and check for markers

I have family members who had it, so I did the 23&me screening for it (negative on genetic mutation thankfully). Have you done that yet?

I have not done 23&me but really should. My gut feeling is that my family members were perhaps more susceptible than the general population but it was chronic stress & environmental insults that pushed them over the edge, hence the late onset.

I have a very strong belief that Parkinson's will be completely cured by the time I could be at risk. It has been completely reversed in several animals with the use of a few different types of stem cells.

I have also gotten my hands on a brand new neurogenic small-molecule drug called NSI-189 that is currently undergoing clinical trials.

Originally commissioned by DARPA to create the war figher of the future, NSI-189 has shown a robust effect in triggering hippocampal stem cells to regrow the hippocampus.

I've ingested about 5 grams and its had a tremendously positive effect on me.

Do you have a diagnosis of something wrong with you, are did you just start taking NSI-189? I was on a medication for 5+ years and it has taken it's tool on me, as well as getting off those meds was not simple. I still struggle with side effects that can take years to go away.

What has NSI-189 done for you specifically and how does it make you feel? Are there any annoying side effects and where in the heck did you get it?

No diagnosis, I got burned out at work, I pushed myself far past the time to take a vacation and find another job. I took a few months off and felt much better but not back like my old self in college.

NSI made me feel like a kid again. Brought me back to 100%. Stress is really, really bad for our brains, particularly our hippocampus.

No side effects for me.

I got it through back channels, can't say anymore and risk the pipeline.

It will be on the market in five years and will in my opinion revolutionize the treatment of depression, ptsd and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Curious what medications you were taking?

Interesting. This is how I feel about MDMA wrt PTSD, which may very well also be on the market for medical use in the next ten or twenty years.

With all due respect, hemp oil is safer, cheaper and more effective [1]:

"What neuropathy is, is your nerve cells are starting to die. And it can occur in different places with different symptoms depending on what cells are dying. Things like, for example, Alzheimers is an obvious example of nerve cell death. Things like ALS. Things like Parkinsons disease. These are just all different formats, different disease states, that result from nerves dying. And our endocannabinoid system plays a very unique role in trying to protect us from various kinds of nerve cell death.

So what's going on with the endocannabinoid system is that it's something that protects our nerves in general. It helps promote nerve growth and nerve health, and rewiring of your brain. You know, adults up until the fairly recent past, it was believed that we no longer had the capacity to regenerate nerves. And what we now know is that we do have that capacity, but furthermore what we know is that nerve regeneration in the brain is very much regulated by these marijuana-like compounds, these endocannabinoids. So we have a whole host of very important activities, the direct protection of nerves from dying, the promotion of regeneration, the promotion of learning, of re-learning things, is a very important biological effect of our endocannabinoid system.

So what are the kinds of things we can do to try and promote health in these areas? On the one hand, everybody should make sure they take in enough essential fatty acids. And certainly I would say one of the best sources for that is we should be consuming hemp oil. And the reason I say hemp oil as opposed to fish oil is because you can ensure organic hemp oil is not contaminated with things like mercury. And that's going to allow our bodies to make our endocannabinoids.

We often hear about the beneficial effects of things like Omega-3s and Omega-6s, and at least some of the attributes of those compounds are the result of them being converted into endocannabinoids. So at least that way your body can do what your body can do. You're giving it the tools to make the things that you need. But in many cases, that's not sufficient, and we have to supplement beyond what our body can make. And there's only one plant on the planet that has the capacity to mimic the way our body works with these endocannabinoids, and that's marijuana.

So marijuana actually directly mimics these particular compounds, and as a result, it has these strong neuroprotectant effects. But because marijuana and these endocannabinoids, their activities are so pervasive in our bodies, they literally regulate every system in your body, your immune system, digestive system, reproductive system, cardiovascular system. Everything in your body is homeostatically maintained by endocannabinoids, meaning balance. They're how our body tries to balance how we interact with the environment when our environment becomes stressful for us, stressful psychologically, stressful biochemically. So these are very, very critical compounds and the use of cannabis can have a profound effect in terms of helping to stop nerve cell degeneration, helping restore functional nerves, helping restore new ways of thinking. And this is just really touching on the surface of the humongous number of benefits that this plant can have for so many different illnesses.

... and what our cannabinoids system is evolved to do over many hundreds of millions of years has been to protect us from those kinds of inbalances. To restore the kind of health that we need. And because of our environment, in particular because we are living longer, we need to be able to adapt very rapidly today, and we can't do that on an evolutionary scale. The way for us to do that as people, as intelligent people, is to make sure we're eating good diets, stay away from toxins, and eat these essential fatty acids, and when necessary, consume cannabinoids."

- Dr. Bob Melamed, Ph.D., UC Colorado Springs



[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP5yxaVksbY

Some of the metabolites of Deprenyl are amphetamines.

and how old are you?

the benefit of increasing dopamine

Have long term effects of that been researched? I mean, is it healthy to constantly (or however the effects last) and for multiple years have higher dopamine levels than what is natural for a person? Would you still notice the increase in dopamine after years, or would it then be the 'new' normal level?

I doubt it, I think it would be much akin to doing cocaine every day. Wasn't L-Dopa more or less pure dopamine, showed promise, and over time lost efficacy? At least, thats how it went in the Robyn Williams movie, which as far as I know was based on a true story and I doubt they would have changed the primary medication name that he discovered was helpful.

If it is all so dopamine related, why don't they just give people dopamine? I take it that it is much more complicated than just dopaminergic reactions at play here?

One big reason is because dopamine does not cross the blood brain barrier... you can't just give it to someone and have it end up in the brain.

Deprenyl works by inhibiting the chemicals in the brain that break down dopamine. The result is higher concentrations. The effect is sustainable.

other research ("Parkinson disease and smoking revisited")

" Objective: To assess whether being able to quit smoking is an early marker of Parkinson disease (PD) onset rather than tobacco being “neuroprotective,” we analyzed information about ease of quitting and nicotine substitute use.

Methods: For this case-control study, we identified 1,808 patients with PD diagnosed between 1996 and 2009 from Danish registries, matched 1,876 population controls on sex and year of birth, and collected lifestyle information. We estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals with logistic regression adjusting for matching factors and confounders.

Results: Fewer patients with PD than controls ever established a smoking habit. Among former smokers, those with greater difficulty quitting or using nicotine substitutes were less likely to develop PD, with the risk being lowest among those reporting “extremely difficult to quit” compared with “easy to quit.” Nicotine substitute usage was strongly associated with quitting difficulty and duration of smoking, i.e., most strongly among current smokers, followed by former smokers who had used nicotine substitutes, and less strongly among former smokers who never used substitutes.

Conclusions: Our data support the notion that patients with PD are able to quit smoking more easily than controls. These findings are compatible with a decreased responsiveness to nicotine during the prodromal phase of PD. We propose that ease of smoking cessation is an aspect of premanifest PD similar to olfactory dysfunction, REM sleep disorders, or constipation and suggests that the apparent “neuroprotective” effect of smoking observed in epidemiologic studies is due to reverse causation.



The abstract reads "Nicotine addiction negatively correlates the changes of developing Parkinson's disease". I'm not a fan of the wording of the HW title to make it sound like smoking could be a good habit.

Seriously, I agree! Why not just take nicotine supplements in safe amounts?

Maybe smoking kills you before the Parkinson's can get started? What age does it kick in for most people?

Most people are diagnosed around 60. Anybody who gets it before 50 has a form that is considered "Young Onset PD"

source: http://www.parkinson.org/Parkinson-s-Disease/Young-Onset-Par...

My thoughts as well. I figure smoking will kill a large proportion well before they hit the age range in which Parkinson's sets in

My grandmother smoker her whole life and got Parkinson's at around 85. She died at 91 from smoking-induced stomach cancer.

My dad was diagnosed at 47

I think it's kind of irresponsible to release a study like this to the popular press, especially this early before all of the correlations and causitive factors have been worked out. I remember a similar deal hitting the pop-sci press back in the 90s with regards to smoking supposedly preventing Alzheimers (that I believe was later disproven).

ah, yeah, here it is: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8437692

Half of my extended family completely ignored the part on "The 'dose-response' pattern showed the greatest risk reduction among those who smoked least" (if it ever got mentioned at all), and used it as an excuse to keep smoking for, well, as long as it took for everyone to forget the meme and go back to smoking Because Freedums!

Ok, nevermind, I guess they never needed an excuse to begin with.

I don't know about drinking coffee, but could the correlation with smoking just be because smokers die earlier than average, and hence never get the time to develop Parkinson's?

Even smokers don't die that young, on average.

There are other means of administering nicotine (as well as other beneficial effects): http://www.gwern.net/Nicotine

"The exact cause behind the phenomena is unknown at this point."


That's the symptom, not the cause.

Interesting. My Grandfather is 100% Finnish. He never smoked. And now he has Parkinson's.

Anecdotal, I know :)

Does anyone smoke coffee? I usually don't go any further than just smelling.

It's a very dark roast.

So what does this mean? It's either senile and healthy or smart, but dying? Damn, son.

Thankfully, there are ways to ingest caffeine and nicotine that don't involve smoking coffee grounds or tobacco leaves. Drinking coffee or using transdermal or vaporized nicotine solution could offer the benefits without the health risks of inhaling tars and the carcinogenic products of combustion.

But the correlation is between smoking and drinking coffee, not receiving a certain amount of nicotine and caffeine. Indeed, the linked abstract talks about gut biome - it's unlikely that a nicotine patch on your thigh is going to affect your gut biome in the same way actual smoke in your throat is.

Perhaps eating eggplants may help too?

Parkinson's is a movement disorder, not dementia-related (you're probably thinking of Alzheimer's).

Parkinson's long list of possible symptoms includes both movement disorders and dementia.

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