In the worst news in the world for caffeine addicts, high caffeine consumption could be doing us harm.

Researchers at the University of South Australia looked at how coffee affects the brain and have found that caffeine is associated with smaller brain volumes, and higher risk of dementia.

In a study, they assessed 17,702 people and looked at how coffee affected their brains. They found that those who had more than six cups of coffee a day had a 53 per cent increased risk of dementia.

Kitty Pham, lead researcher and UniSA PhD candidate, told SciTechDaily: “Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world. Yet with global consumption being more than nine billion kilograms a year, it’s critical that we understand any potential health implications.

“This is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke – it’s also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors.

“Accounting for all possible permutations, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume – essentially, drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be putting you at risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke.”

So far, so bad.

Softening the blow, however, senior investigator and director of UniSA’s Australian centre for precision health, Professor Elina Hyppönen, said a couple of cups a day is fine.

She said: “Typical daily coffee consumption is somewhere between one and two standard cups of coffee. Of course, while unit measures can vary, a couple of cups of coffee a day is generally fine.”

Phew. Time to put a cap on the number of cappuccinos we have a day, and say no to Americano.

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