“The link between dairy products and Parkinson’s disease has been found in other studies,” said study author R. D. Abbott, a doctor with the Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu, Japan.
“Our study looked specifically at milk and the signs of Parkinson’s in the brain.”
The research was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Researchers studied 449 Japanese-American men with an average age of 54. They took part in the Honolulu-Asia Ageing Study and were followed for more than 30 years and until their death, after which autopsies were performed.
Tests looked at whether participants had lost brain cells in the substantia nigra area of the brain, which occurs in Parkinson’s disease, while also measuring in 116 brains the amount of residue of a pesticide called heptachlor epoxide.
The study found that nonsmokers who drank more than two cups of milk per day had 40% fewer brain cells in that area of the brain than people who drank less than two cups of milk per day.
For those who were smokers at any point, there was no association between milk intake and loss of brain cells. Previous studies have shown that people who smoke have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.