Uncommon blood type linked to memory loss

People with blood type AB are 82 percent more likely to develop thinking and memory problems that can lead to dementia than people with other blood types. AB is the least common blood type, found in about 4 percent of the U.S. population.

Previous studies have shown that people with type O blood have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, factors that can increase the risk of memory loss and dementia.

The study

The study was part of a larger study of more than 30 000 people followed for an average of 3,4 years. In those who had no memory or thinking problems at the beginning, the study identified 495 participants who developed thinking and memory problems, or cognitive impairment, during the study. They were compared to 587 people with no cognitive problems.

People with blood type AB are 82 percent more likely to develop thinking and memory problems that can lead to dementia than people with other blood types[/su_pullquote]

“Our study looks at blood type and risk of cognitive impairment, but several studies have shown that factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia,” said study author Mary Cushman, MD, MSc, of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington

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People with AB blood type made up six percent of the group who developed cognitive impairment, which is higher than the four percent found in the population.

Researchers also looked at blood levels of factor VIII, a protein that helps blood to clot. High levels of factor VIII are related to higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. People in this study with higher levels of factor VIII were 24 percent more likely to develop thinking and memory problems than people with lower levels of the protein. People with AB blood had a higher average level of factor VIII than people with other blood types.

Dr Cushman said, â??Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health. More research is needed to confirm these results.â?

Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN) via ScienceDaily

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