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A high school student's Parkinson's Research

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Hi guys!

My name is Di Zhuang and I am a junior from Dublin High School. I am currently conducting a research study to increase the understanding of how caffeine might affect the development of Parkinson’s Disease. I am wondering if any forum members would like to participate in my study by completing an anonymous survey that I have created. The survey takes around 3-5 minutes to complete and all the responses to the questions will be kept confidential. Below is the link to the online survey. All responses will be value information to the research and I deeply appreciate the time and cooperation of any participants. Please feel free to leave a message below or contact me if you would like to hear more information about my study.

Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LNTH2P5

Thank you very much for your time and patience!


Di Zhuang

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Hey guys, 

Thank you so much for all the support and willingness to participate on this study. I have collected a considerable amounts of responses and was able to reach a conclusion. If you would like to read it, the following is my abstract of this research. 

Cross-Cultural Evaluation of Parkinson’s Disease and the Association between Caffeine and Progression of the Disease

Introduction: Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder cause by the progressive loss of brain cells that produce dopamine. At present, there are approximately 10 million people worldwide diagnosed with PD. Assessments such as Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-8) and Hoehn and Yahr (HY) scale are widely used to examine the quality of life and describe the symptom progression of PD respectively. Many studies are conducted globally using questionnaire method, but few compare and contrast the influence of PD on patients from different countries. The purpose of this study is to examine the influences of PD on American and Chinese patients by comparing and contrasting symptoms progression, quality of life, and influence of caffeine consumption.

Method: A survey was created in English and Mandarin that incorporated PDQ-8, HY scale, and measurements of caffeine consumption. It was then distributed to various PD organizations and online PD patients forums in the US, and hospital and clinics in China. This study involved 35 American participants and 60 Chinese participants.

Results: Average age of patients was 50 to 59 in the U.S, and 60 to 69 in China. 38% of the American respondents were males and 62% females. On the other hand, 54% of the Chinese participants were males and 46% females. The mean length of the duration of illness was 1 to 5 years for all participants.

Symptoms progression: Based on HY scale, the symptoms were divided into 7 phrases (1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, and 5). Those whose symptoms did not exceed the 2.5 phase are classified as in the early stages of PD. Those who exceeded have later symptoms. In this study, 85.71% American and 74.58% Chinese participants are at the early stage.

Quality of life: Eight questions in the PDQ-8 Questionnaire examine patient’s mobility, activities of daily living, depression, social relationship, humiliation, attention and cognition, and communication. Each question was worth 4 points (never=0, occasionally=1, sometimes=2, often=3, always=4); the higher the score, the lower the quality of life. Among American participants, the average score for each of the eight questions is between 1.97 and 2.63. Noticeably, 74.29% of them struggle to maintain their concentration and 62.86% of them have trouble performing daily activities. The average score for Chinese participants is between 2.21 and 2.76. The highest score is depression (2.76).

Caffeine consumption: Among American participants, 95% of them consume caffeine products, mostly coffee, on a daily basis and 80% among those consumers have done this habitually for more than 20

years. Among Chinese participants, 53% of them consume products that contain caffeine, mostly tea, on a daily basis but 70% of them have been doing this for less than 20 years.

Conclusion: The average age of American PD patients is greater than that of Chinese PD patients, and their gender ratios are inversely different. Under the condition that the degrees and durations of the illness between patients in the two countries are similar, the qualities of life is also comparable. However, due to the age differences between factors regarding caffeine consumption and lack of control group (participants without PD), no conclusion can be reached regarding the effects of caffeine on alleviating symptoms progression of PD. According to previous researches, caffeine intake does lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease and slowing its progression. This may be the reason why incidences of PD developed later in life for the surveyed American patients than Chinese patients, since the former tend to consume caffeine more often. Further investigations are required to continue to assess the impact of caffeine on PD.


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