A new study has found that people belong to blood group AB face more risk of developing memory loss in their later years than people with other blood types.
The study found that people with AB blood, which is the least common blood type, were 82% more likely to develop the thinking and memory problems that could lead to dementia. 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.
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The 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 AB blood type made up 6% of the group who developed cognitive impairment, which was higher than the 4 % found in the US population.
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Study author Mary Cushman of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington, said that the study also found that blood type was also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, hence the findings highlighted the connections between vascular issues and brain health. However, more research was needed to confirm these results.
Researchers also looked at blood levels of factor VIII, a protein that helps blood to clot. High levels of factor VIII were related to higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. People in this study with higher levels of factor VIII were 24 % 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.
The study is published in published in online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.