The research was carried out in collaboration with a group of international academics at the University’s Centre for Precision Health.
The research, which is believed to be the largest of its type, included almost 17,700 individuals aged 37 to 73 years old.
The research took place between 2019 and 2021, and the findings were released late last month.
Kitty Pham, the study’s lead researcher and a UniSA PhD candidate, thinks the findings are significant for public health.
“Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages on the planet. “However, given that worldwide consumption exceeds nine billion kilos per year, it’s important that we understand any possible health consequences,” adds Pham.
“This is the broadest study to examine volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding variables, as well as the most thorough look into the links between coffee, brain volume measures, dementia risks, and stroke risks.
“We repeatedly discovered that increased coffee consumption was substantially related with lower brain volume, accounting for all potential permutations — in other words, consuming more than six cups of coffee per day may put you at risk of brain disorders like dementia and stroke.”
Catherine Hall, CEO of Alzheimers New Zealand, spoke to 1 NEWS. Dementia is one of New Zealand’s and the world’s main health and social service issues in the twenty-first century.
“While there is no prevalence statistics for dementia in New Zealand, the Dementia Economic Impact Report 2016 estimates that about 70,000 New Zealanders have dementia, with that figure expected to rise to roughly 170,000 by 2050,” she said.
“According to a new research published in the Lancet, New Zealand has a greater dementia risk than global projections, owing to high rates of untreated hearing loss and obesity.”
Dementia has also been identified as a pressing concern for countries by the WHO and the OECD, owing to a combination of major unmet needs faced by people living with dementia and their families, the high contribution of dementia to health system costs, and the very rapid increases in the number of people living with dementia that all countries are now experiencing due to their ageing populations.
In 2017, the World Health Assembly approved the Global Action Plan on Dementia Public Health Response. One of the goals of the Plan is for countries to develop national dementia action plans to help them better manage the difficulties dementia brings to their citizens.
“This government pledged in its platform to work with the dementia sector in New Zealand to execute the country’s first-ever Dementia Action Plan, which, among other things, lays out ways to minimise dementia’s impact on New Zealanders, the health system, and the economy,” Hall said.
“The Plan is evidence-based, and it gives the government a roadmap for dealing with what is likely to be New Zealand’s most severe healthcare problem beyond Covid-19.”