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

Elan D. Louis, Eva C. Jurewicz, La Keisha Applegate, Jose A. Luchsinger, Pam Factor-Litvak, Michael Parides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-504
Number of pages6
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Epidemiology
  • Essential tremor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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