Can Alcohol Cause Parkinson’s Disease?

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Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the
University of Oxford.

Can Alcohol Cause Parkinson’s Disease?

Yes, there is some evidence indicating increased alcohol consumption can lead to increased risk of Parkinson's disease (PD) [1].

There is cellular-level evidence indicating alcohol can contribute to neural cell damage and promote inflammation, both of which are processes leading up to the development of neurodegenerative conditions [2]. Furthermore, chronic alcohol consumption changes the neurotransmitter balance in the brain, including reduction in dopamine levels. This can, over time, worsen symptoms of PD [3].

Nonetheless, the link between alcohol consumption and Parkinson's Disease is not fully clear. A recent meta-analysis found that beers reduced PD risk, whereas wine and hard spirits would increase PD risk. The protective factors in moderate alcohol consumption may be because it can alleviate motor symptoms of PD, such as slowness of movement [4].

Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is a postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. She has worked across a spectrum of hot topics in neuroscience, including her current project measuring reinforcement learning strategies in Parkinson’s disease. Previously, she studied the efficacy of psilocybin as a therapy for critical mental health conditions and examined molecular circadian rhythms of migraine disorders. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow and participated in a year abroad at the University of California, where she worked on a clinical trial for spinal cord injury.