Coronavirus: Blood type A more ‘susceptible’ says expert
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A new genetic factor has been discovered that is linked to higher risk of dementia and other cognitive conditions in old age.
The rarest ABO blood type is AB, making up about one in 25 people.
One study has indicated that this group is overrepresented in people developing memory and thinking problems.
The study also examined levels of a specific biomarker for cognitive decline, called factor VIII.
Study author Mary Cushman, MD, MSc, of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington explains that blood type is only one of several factors that increase your risk of dementia.
“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.
“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.”
The study was part of a larger research cohort examining 30,000 people over a three year period.
Cushman’s team identified a group of 495 who had developed cognitive problems over this time, and a group of 587 that did not suffer from any cognitive issues.
The two groups were compared to see if there were any other differences that could be identified.
The results have not yet been reproduced in a larger study.
Factor VIII is a protein in the blood that helps with clotting.
Failure to produce this protein results in haemophilia, where your body is unable to repair open wounds and will instead bleed continuously.
High levels of the protein increase your risk of a stroke, as it can form clots in small arteries of the brain and block the flow of blood.
This study linked high levels of factor VIII with a 24 percent greater chance to develop memory and thinking problems.
A proposed reason for this correlation is that blood type can affect your risk of many conditions that increase your chance of developing dementia.
People with O type blood have been reported to suffer fewer strokes and have a lower risk of heart disease.
These are both factors that reduce the chance of O type people developing memory loss and dementia.
One study of 400,000 people found that people with types A, B and AB had an eight percent higher chance of suffering a heart attack and a 47 percent greater chance to develop a pulmonary embolism.
Knowledge of which blood groups are at greater risk of certain disease could allow for targeted approaches for people at greater risk.
Other factors are still very important in avoiding heart disease and dementia.
Lifestyle is still believed to be one of the main drivers of these diseases.
Studies have shown that keeping physically, mentally and socially active all have protective effects against dementia.
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