DETROIT, MICHIGAN. Researchers at the Henry Ford Health System, a large integrated health care network in the Detroit area, report that certain dietary factors are significantly associated with an increased risk for Parkinson's disease (PD). Their study involved 126 people who had been diagnosed with PD during the period April 1991 to July 1995 and 432 controls matched for sex and age. All participants completed a food frequency questionnaire that was reviewed with an interviewer as part of subsequent face-to-face interviews. The researchers found no statistically significant differences among cases and controls in the intake of vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A or beta-carotene. However, they did discover that people with a high intake of fat had twice the risk of developing PD as did people with a low intake. A high intake of cholesterol also doubled the risk while a high intake of lutein was found to increase the risk by a factor of 2.5. A high intake of iron was also found to be detrimental with PD cases having a median intake of 11.6 mg/day as compared to 10.1 mg/day for controls. The researchers note that a high intake of lutein has been found to protect against cancer and that PD patients tend to have a lower incidence of cancer. The researches conclude that a high dietary intake of fat, cholesterol, lutein, and iron may be associated with an increased risk for Parkinson's disease.
Johnson, C.C., et al. Adult nutrient intake as a risk factor for Parkinson's disease. International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 28, December 1999, pp. 1102-09