Coffee and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Giorgia Giussani, Elisabetta Pupillo, Paolo Messina, Ettore Beghi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare, severe, progressive neurological disorder characterized by degeneration of the motor neurons. The etiology of ALS is still unknown. A recent Italian population-based case-control study showed that lifetime coffee intake was less frequent and prolonged among patients with ALS compared to patients with other clinical conditions and to healthy individuals. These findings provide epidemiological evidence of a protective action of coffee against ALS. Caffeine has psychomotor stimulant effects in the brain. Studies done in experimental animals and electrophysiological studies support the positive effects of caffeine on motor neurons' excitability and against muscle fatigue. Dietary caffeine intake has been also associated to a reduced risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease and may reverse cognitive impairment. However, these findings require confirmation through a large population-based study investigating the exposure to caffeine and other coffee constituents in ALS patients and healthy controls. Different populations should be also investigated to compare differing dietary habits.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCoffee in Health and Disease Prevention
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780124167162, 9780124095175
Publication statusPublished - Nov 3 2014


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Motoneuron
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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