Although some epidemiologic studies found inverse associations between alcohol drinking and Parkinson's disease (PD), the majority of studies found no such significant associations. Additionally, there is only limited research into the possible interactions of alcohol intake with aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) 2 activity with respect to PD risk. We examined the relationship between alcohol intake and PD among Japanese subjects using data from a case-control study.
From 214 cases within 6 years of PD onset and 327 controls without neurodegenerative disease, we collected information on "peak", as opposed to average, alcohol drinking frequency and peak drinking amounts during a subject's lifetime. Alcohol flushing status was evaluated via questions, as a means of detecting inactive ALHD2. The multivariate model included adjustments for sex, age, region of residence, smoking, years of education, body mass index, alcohol flushing status, presence of selected medication histories, and several dietary factors.
Alcohol intake during peak drinking periods, regardless of frequency or amount, was not associated with PD. However, when we assessed daily ethanol intake separately for each type of alcohol, only Japanese sake (rice wine) was significantly associated with PD (adjusted odds ratio of ≥66.0 g ethanol per day: 3.39, 95% confidence interval: 1.10-11.0, P for trend = 0.001). There was no significant interaction of alcohol intake with flushing status in relation to PD risk.
We did not find significant associations between alcohol intake and PD, except for the daily amount of Japanese sake. Effect modifications by alcohol flushing status were not observed.