Study Finds No Link Between Alcohol Consumption, Risk of Parkinson Disease

May 4, 2020

Although men with moderate lifetime alcohol consumption were at higher risk of developing Parkinson disease (PD) compared with light drinkers, no significant link was found between alcohol consumption and risk of PD, according to study findings.

Although men with moderate lifetime alcohol consumption were at a higher risk of developing Parkinson disease (PD) compared with light drinkers, no significant link was found between alcohol consumption and risk of PD, according to study findings published in Movement Disorders.

Because the complex etiology of PD involves a myriad of genetic and environmental factors, the specific mechanisms of certain associations, such as cigarette smoking and caffeine intake with decreased risk of PD, remain poorly understood. In prior meta-analyses, alcohol consumption, which serves as another possible factor in the development of PD, was suggested to have an inverse association.

“The results, however, are as yet inconclusive: the inverse association was mainly observed in retrospective case-control studies, but was not as clear in studies based on prospective cohorts,” said the study authors.

The researchers conducted a prospective European population-based cohort study derived from NeuroEPIC4PD, involving 694 patients with PD from an initial group of 209,998. Participants were attributed risk estimates for average alcohol consumption 12 months prior to recruitment (short term) and during their lifetime since the age of 20 years (long term), with additional assessments of PD risk occuring based on type of alcoholic beverage. Cox regression hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated for alcohol consumption and incidence of PD.

In the study findings, the researchers found no association between alcohol consumption and risk of PD at recruitment and during lifetime. When stratified for sex, male lifetime moderate consumers (5-29.9 g/day; 5-14.9 g/day; HR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.07-2.33; 15-29.9 g/day; HR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.00-2.33) exhibited close to a 50% higher risk of PD compared with light consumers (0.1-4.9 g/day; HR, 1 [ref]). However, there was no exposure—response trend observed (P = .55).

Additional analyses for lifetime consumption by type of alcoholic beverage also did not show any significant association with PD risk.

“Overall, our data support previous findings from large US prospective studies that there is no association between alcohol consumption and the risk of PD,” said the study authors.

Reference

Peters S, Gallo V, Vineis P, et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of Parkinson’s disease: data from a large prospective European cohort [published online May 1, 2020]. Mov Disord. doi: 10.1002/mds.28039.