While movement problems are the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, people with the disease often have non-motor symptoms such as constipation, daytime sleepiness and depression 10 or more years before the movement problems start.
While movement problems are the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, people with the disease often have non-motor symptoms such as constipation, daytime sleepiness and depression 10 or more years before the movement problems start. A new study suggests that eating a healthy diet in middle age may be linked to having fewer of these preceding symptoms. The study is published in the August 19, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“While this study does not show cause and effect, it certainly provides yet another reason for getting more vegetables, nuts and legumes in your diet,” said study author Samantha Molsberry, Ph.D., of Harvard University in Boston, Mass. “More research is needed to determine whether eating a healthy diet could delay or even prevent the development of Parkinson’s disease among people who have these preceding symptoms already.”
The study involved 47,679 people who were asked about their diet every four years starting in the 1980s when they were middle-aged. Then in 2012, people were asked whether they had two conditions that are common in people who are later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease: constipation and a sleep disorder called rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, which includes acting out dreams during sleep by movement such as flailing arms or shouting or screaming. In 2014-2015, 17,400 of the participants were asked about five more symptoms that can precede Parkinson’s disease: loss of sense of smell, impaired color vision, excessive daytime sleepiness, body pain and depression.
The researchers looked at how closely people’s diets followed either the alternate Mediterranean diet, which is similar to the Mediterranean diet but includes only whole grains and does not consider dairy, or the Alternative Healthy Eating Index. Both diets encourage eating fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes and discourage eating red meat. They divided the participants into five groups based on how closely they followed the diets.
Read more at American Academy of Neurology
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