Semiquantitative study of current coffee, caffeine, and ethanol intake in essential tremor cases and controls

Authors

  • Elan D. Louis MD, MS,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    2. Department of Neurology College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    3. Taub Institute for Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    • Unit 198, Neurological Institute, 710 West 168th Street, New York, NY, 10032
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  • Eva C. Jurewicz BA,

    1. The Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    2. Taub Institute for Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
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  • Lakeisha Applegate BA,

    1. The Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    2. Taub Institute for Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
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  • Jose A. Luchsinger MD, MPH,

    1. Taub Institute for Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    2. Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
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  • Pam Factor-Litvak PhD,

    1. Taub Institute for Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
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  • Michael Parides PhD

    1. Taub Institute for Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
    2. Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
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Abstract

There are several reasons to study caffeine, coffee, and ethanol intake in essential tremor (ET) patients. ET patients also might modify their use of these beverages because of their effects on tremor. Intake of caffeine, coffee, and ethanol has not been quantified in a group of ET patients. Our objective is to use a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire to compare current daily intake of coffee, caffeine, and ethanol in ET patients and controls. A total of 130 ET cases were patients at the Neurological Institute of New York, and 175 controls were ascertained by random digit dialing. Caffeine (in milligrams) and ethanol (in grams) intake were calculated from a semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Mean daily caffeine intake in patients was 138.4 versus 246.6 mg in controls; medians were 101.1 versus 175.5 mg (P < 0.001). Mean daily ethanol intake in patients was 8.2 versus 6.2 gm in controls; medians were 2.4 versus 1.9 gm (P = 0.89). Cases drank less coffee than controls, but drank similar amounts of tea, soft drinks, fruit juices, and milk. Daily caffeine intake was not correlated with tremor severity or duration. ET patients consumed less caffeine than did controls, which is likely to be a dietary modification in response to tremor. The observation that caffeine consumption was not correlated with tremor severity raises the additional possibility that lower caffeine consumption in ET patients may not exclusively be a response to tremor. A prospective study is needed to explore whether decreased caffeine consumption is a risk factor for ET. © 2004 Movement Disorder Society

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