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Your Blood Type Can Influence Your Memory


Image credit: jomilo75, “Tiger tops,” via Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

According to the new study published in the latest edition of Neurology , it was found by scientists that for those with a rare blood type, they had to face more risks in development of memory problems later in their lives and the rate for individuals with AB blood to develop cognitive impairment would be twice higher than people with other blood types.

Based on their previous studies, researchers had identified the links between vascular health and blood type. For instance, some researchers discovered that people with blood type O had a lower risk in development of heart disease and stroke, both of which could enhance the risk of memory loss and dementia later in life.

To further support such theory, a group of scientists headed by Dr. Mary Cushman of the University of Vermont College of Medicine was intended to identify the relationship between the incidence of cognitive impairment and blood type. In their study, the team was engaged in analysis of the data collected from more than 30,000 black and white adults living in the US, who were the participants in   the previous study called REGARDS (Reasons for Geographical and Racial Differences in Stroke).

During the period of three and a half year, the scientists identified 495 individuals who had developed cognitive impairment. Afterwards, they made a comparison with a group of 587 people without memory problems.

It was found that six percent of people with cognitive impairment fell into the group with the rare blood type AB, which was much higher than the four percent discovered in the total US population. With adjustment in terms of age, race, region and sex, it was also found that individuals with blood type AB were 82% more probably to have problems with memory, language and attention when they get older in comparison with other blood types. Although the data was quite indicative of the onset of dementia, the study did not illustrate the risks in development of dementia.

In addition to investigation of blood type, the scientists were also targeting at the levels of a clotting protein known as factor VIII. It was discovered that individuals with higher levels of factor VIII in their blood could face more risks in development of cognitive impairment. Additionally, compared with blood type O, average levels of this factor were higher in those with blood type AB.

Such findings are not really surprisingly given that previous study has shown that people with blood type AB have changed blood clotting characteristics in some cases. Furthermore, Cushman’s team previously discovered that blood type AB was also linked with a higher risk of stroke. High levels of factor VIII would enhance the possibility of blood clots forming and as a result, it might increase the risk of development of heart attacks or stroke as well.

As Cushman said in a news release, their research was intended to look at blood type and risk of cognitive impairment. However other studies had demonstrated that factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes were attributed to increasing risks of developing cognitive impairment and dementia. Blood type was also associated with other vascular conditions like stroke; therefore their findings had emphasized the connections between brain health and vascular issues.

Although this research is quite amazing, the association has to be proved that AB blood type is the cause of the increased risk of cognitive impairment. More efforts are needed in this respect.

Source: American Academy of Neurology, Neurology, CBS News and BBC News