Associations of Lower Caffeine Intake and Plasma Urate Levels with Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease in the Harvard Biomarkers Study

J Parkinsons Dis. 2020;10(2):505-510. doi: 10.3233/JPD-191882.


Two purines, caffeine and urate, have been associated with a reduced risk of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) in multiple cohorts and populations. The Harvard Biomarkers Study (HBS) is a longitudinal study designed to accelerate the discovery and validation of molecular diagnostic and progression markers of early-stage PD. To investigate whether these 'reduced risk' factors are associated with PD within this cohort, we conducted a cross-sectional, case-control study in 566 subjects consisting of idiopathic PD patients and healthy controls. Caffeine intake as assessed by a validated questionnaire was significantly lower in idiopathic PD patients compared to healthy controls in males (mean difference -125 mg/day, p < 0.001) but not in females (mean difference -30 mg/day, p = 0.29). A strong inverse association was also observed with plasma urate levels both in males (mean difference -0.46 mg/dL, p = 0.017) and females (mean difference -0.45 mg/dL, p = 0.001). Both analyses stratified for sex and adjusted for age, body mass index, and either urate level or caffeine consumption, respectively. These results highlight the robustness of caffeine intake and urate as factors inversely associated with idiopathic PD.

Keywords: Caffeine; Parkinson’s disease; biomarker; uric acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / blood
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Sex Factors
  • Uric Acid / blood*


  • Biomarkers
  • Uric Acid
  • Caffeine