Your Blood Type Could Affect Your Memory


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

Individuals with a rare blood type may have an increased risk of developing memory problems later in life, new research has found. According to the study, which has been published in Neurology, people with AB blood were almost twice as likely to develop cognitive impairment as individuals with other blood types.

Scientists have previously identified associations between blood type and vascular health. For example, some studies found that individuals with blood type O had a lower risk of developing heart disease and stroke, both of which can increase the risk of memory loss and dementia later in life.

Taking this one step further, researchers headed by Dr. Mary Cushman of the University of Vermont College of Medicine set out to examine the relationship between blood type and the incidence of cognitive impairment. For the study, the team analyzed data from more than 30,000 black and white adults living in the US that had previously been enrolled in a larger study called REGARDS (Reasons for Geographical and Racial Differences in Stroke).

The researchers identified 495 individuals that developed cognitive impairment during the three and a half year study. They then compared these individuals with a similar group of 587 people who had no memory problems.

They found that 6% of the individuals who developed cognitive impairment had the rare blood type AB, which is higher than the 4% found in the total US population. After adjusting for age, race, region and sex, those with AB were 82% more likely to experience problems with memory, language and attention with age when compared with other blood types. While these are often indicative of the onset of dementia, the study did not look at the risks of developing dementia.

Alongside investigating blood type, the researchers also examined the levels of a clotting protein called factor VIII. They found that those with higher levels of factor VIII in their blood also had an increased risk of developing cognitive impairment. Furthermore, average levels of this factor were higher in those with blood type AB when compared with O.

These findings are not necessarily surprising given that previous research has demonstrated that individuals with blood type AB sometimes have altered blood clotting characteristics. Moreover, Cushman’s group previously found that blood type AB was associated with a higher risk of stroke. High levels of factor VIII increases the likelihood of blood clots forming and therefore may also increase the risk of developing heart attacks or stroke.

“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,” Cushman said in a news release. “Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health.”

While this research is interesting, an association cannot prove that AB blood type is causing the increased risk of cognitive impairment. Further studies are therefore warranted.

[Via American Academy of NeurologyNeurologyCBS News and BBC News]

Blood Donation Camps

  • Blood Donors Association Nepal (BLODAN) Kathmandu District Chapter organized 7th UNISEF World Heritage Blood Donation Campaign in Bhaktapur on 16th February 2019 (2075 Falgun 4) Saturday. In the program total 38 units of blood was collected in technical support of NRCS, Bhaktapur Blood Transfusion Service. The program organizer presented a mug printed with the image of blood donors as a token of love on the spot. BLODAN Kathmandu Chapter has completed already six UNISEF World Heritage blood donation campaign in Bouddha Nath Stupa, Swayambhu Nath, Changu Narayan Temple, Pashupati Nath, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square and concluding in Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha on 2nd March 2019.

    BLODAN Kathmandu thanked to all voluntary blood donors and supporters.

  • An emergency blood donation camp was organised by Rotaract District Nepal and Children for Green New Nepal on 12th Oct 2014 at Mangalbazar. The program was inaugurated by Chief Guest Mahatma Chameli Baiji, Lata Baiji from Nepal Manav Dharma Sewa Samiti  and Mrs. Mahendra Bilash Joshi, president of Blood Donors Association. About 49 pints of blood was collected during the event.

    Usually, there is acute shortage of blood in the blood bank during Dashain Tihar holidays when majority of the people are not available in the valley. To overcome such shortage, these kind of emergency blood donation camps plays a very important role to those who are in real need of blood even when there is shortage of blood in the blood bank.