Could Your Blood Type Be Causing Cognitive Decline and Other Health Issues?
Your Blood Type May Be Putting You at Increased Risk for Memory Issues and Other Age Related Diseases
More and more studies are now being done to figure out the causes of age related mental decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and other age-related memory issues. Adding to this growing list was new research published last month in the journal Neurology that shows that there may be correlation between blood type and the increases risk for developing these age related memory issues. The study’s findings showed that those with the blood type AB may be almost twice as likely to suffer from age related cognitive impairment as those with other blood types!
Age related mental decline is not the first type of disease that has been shown to have links to different blood types though. Researchers have already recognized relations between blood type and cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that those with type O blood have a lower risk of developing heart disease and having a stroke. Keep in mind that both heart disease and stroke increase the risk of memory loss and dementia in the late stages of life.
Overview of the Study
Researchers at the University of Vermont College of Medicine delved even further into this connection. They began to inspect the connection between blood type and the prevalence of cognitive impairment. The study conducted was huge and analyzed data from more than 30,000 adults of different ethnicities living in the United States. All subjects had also been formerly enrolled in an even larger study known as REGARDS (Reasons for Geographical and Racial Differences in Stroke).
495 of the aforementioned subjects developed cognitive impairment over 3.5 year study. This data was matched against a similar group of 587 people who had absolutely no memory retention issues.
Study Results and Connections to Previous Studies Conducted
Their findings showed that a whopping 6% of the subjects who developed cognitive impairment were blood type AB! This may not seem like a lot but it is 150% higher than found in the rest of the US population at just 4%. The experts even adjusted their findings for biological makeup such as age, race, region and sex. It was uncovered that those with type AB blood were still 82% more likely to experience age related mental declines like issues with memory, language and attention. Although these are all suggestive of the onset of dementia, it should be noted that the study did not look at the risks for the advancement of dementia per se.
The scientists noticed something else while evaluating the data as well. The levels of a clotting protein called factor VIII were also inspected in this study and it was shown that the higher the level of this protein, the higher the risk for developing cognitive impairment later in life. Interestingly, the average level of this clotting protein were higher in those with AB blood type than those with O.
This may sound like a shocking discovery to you but previous studies have also revealed that those with type AB blood can have different blood clotting tendencies than individuals with other blood types. The researchers at University of Vermont had already found an increased risk of stroke with the AB blood type. The high level of factor VIII raises the chance of blood clots to form which in turn may also raise the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Conclusion of the Data Collected
“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 Cushman, who headed researched at the University of Vermont. “Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health.”
Even though this research is fascinating, the relationship shown in the data cannot conclude that AB blood type is the cause of cognitive decline in elderly. It does, however, warrant the need for further studies to be conducted.