AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Does Consuming Low-fat Dairy Increase the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease?

Consuming at least three servings of low-fat dairy a day is associated with a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease compared to consuming less than one serving a day, according to a large study. In addition, drinking more than one serving of low-fat or skim milk per day is associated with a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease compared to drinking less than one serving per week. The study results do not show that dairy products cause Parkinson’s disease — they just show an association. “Our study is the largest analysis of dairy and Parkinson’s to date,” said Katherine C. Hughes, ScD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. “The results provide evidence of a modest increased risk of Parkinson’s with greater consumption of low-fat dairy products. Such dairy products, which are widely consumed, could potentially be a modifiable risk factor for the disease.” For the study, researchers analyzed approximately 25 years of data on 80,736 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and 48,610 men enrolled in the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study. 

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