Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Alcohol drinking and risk of Parkinson's disease: a case-control study in Japan

Wakaba Fukushima1*, Yoshihiro Miyake2, Keiko Tanaka2, Satoshi Sasaki3, Chikako Kiyohara4, Yoshio Tsuboi5, Tatsuo Yamada5, Tomoko Oeda6, Takami Miki7, Nobutoshi Kawamura8, Nobutaka Sakae8, Hidenao Fukuyama9, Yoshio Hirota1, Masaki Nagai10 and Fukuoka Kinki Parkinson's Disease Study Group11

Author affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan

2 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan

3 Department of Social and Preventive Epidemiology, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

4 Department of Preventive Medicine, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

5 Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan

6 Clinical Research Institute and Department of Neurology, Utano National Hospital, Kyoto, Japan

7 Department of Geriatrics and Neurology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan

8 Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

9 Human Brain Research Center, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan

10 Department of Public Health, Saitama Medical University Faculty of Medicine, Saitama, Japan

11 Other members of the Study Group are listed in the Appendix

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Neurology 2010, 10:111  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-10-111

Published: 5 November 2010



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.