Two espresso a day cured boy, 11, who could barely walk

Two espressos a day cured boy, 11, who could barely walk due to Parkinson’s-like shakes

  • An 11-year-old boy was diagnosed with ADCY5-related dyskinesis, a disorder that causes sufferers to make abnormal involuntary movements
  • Researchers in Paris, France, decided to prescribe him caffeine to activate the receptors of an enzyme that play a role in muscle contraction
  • One cup of espresso stopped the tremors for seven hours and two cups kept them at bay for almost the entire day
  • When his parents tried decaffeinated coffee, the boy had tremors up to 30 times a day

Two cups of espresso a day cured an 11-year-old boy who could barely walk due to Parkinson’s-like shakes.

In a new case report, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the junior schooler was diagnosed with a disorder known as ADCY5-related dyskinesia, which caused him to involuntarily tremor and shake.

Researchers at Hôpitaux de Paris, a university hospital in France, decided to prescribe him caffeine to relax his muscles and activate the receptors of an enzyme that plays a role in muscle contraction.

One cup of espresso stopped his tremors for up to seven hours, while two cups kept the twitches at bay for almost an entire day.

What’s more, when the boy’s parents gave him decaffeinated coffee, the jerky episodes came back in full force – and as often as 30 times a day.

An 11-year-old boy in Paris, France, was diagnosed with ADCY5-related dyskinesia, a disorder that caused him to involuntarily tremor and shake, so researchers decide to try to treat him with espresso (file image)

ADCY5-related dyskinesia is a disorder that causes sufferers to make abnormal involuntary movements. 

Such movements include jerks, twitches, tremors, or writhing in the face, neck, arms and legs.

There are around 400 people in the world who have been diagnosed with the condition, but its prevalence is unknown, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

It’s caused by a mutation in the ADCY5 gene, which provides instructions for making an enzyme involved in muscle contraction. 

This enzyme is activated by adenosine receptors, which are the major target of caffeine.

Researchers theorized that caffeine would inhibit the enzyme and reduce the involuntary movement of sufferers. 

In the case report, the authors write that the boy began making involuntary movements at three years old, which  would last anywhere from a few seconds to 10 minutes.   

By the time he turned 11 years old, he was having almost 30 episodes per day and difficulty performing activities such as walking, writing in class and riding a bike.

Doctors decided to prescribe him coffee, gradually working up from one cup to nearly three cups. 

Although not a known treatment for ADCY5-related dyskinesia, caffeine is known to relax muscles. 

The boy started drinking one cup of espresso, which contained around 100 milligrams of caffeine, every morning.

One cup stopped the tremors for up to seven 7 hours while adding a second cup in the afternoon and half a cup in the evening stopped them almost completely.

When his parents accidentally bought decaffeinated coffee, the boy’s twitches and tremors came back in full force.

His mother and father realized the mistake four days alter and immediately bought caffeinated coffee, which led to his dyskinesia episodes disappearing again.

‘We interpreted these events as a fortuitous, real-life, double-blind experiment,’ the authors wrote in their report.  

‘In light of this strong rationale and our experience with our patients, we believe that caffeine may be an effective treatment for others with ADCY5-related dyskinesia and should be considered in all patient.’

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