Blood Type May Influence Risk of Cognitive Decline, Alzheimer's

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An individual’s blood type may influence their risk of developing cognitive decline, as people with ‘O’ type blood appear to have the least risk.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and IRCCS San Camillo Hospital Foundation in Venice, Italy, conducted magnetic resonance images on 189 healthy participants. They also figured out the volume of grey matter within the brain and looked at differences in blood types.

Participants with the ‘O’ blood type tended to have more grey matter in the posterior part of the brain’s cerebellum, the researchers reported in the journal Brain Research Bulletin. Having more grey matter is thought to help fight off neurocognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

In contrast, those with 'A', 'B' or 'AB' blood types has less grey matter volume in the temporal and limbic regions of the brain, including the left hippocampus, which is one of the first parts of the brain impacted by Alzheimer’s.

Grey matter declines as people age, but the results indicate that differences in blood types may accelerate the decline in some individuals.

“In all likelihood the biology of blood types influences the development of the nervous system. We now have to understand how and why this occurs,” Annalena Venneri, PhD, of Sheffield’s Department of Neuroscience said in a statement. “We now have to understand how and why this occurs.”

Blood Type May Influence Risk of Cognitive Decline, Alzheimer's
People with type 'O' blood may be the most protected against cognitive decline.

A pioneering study conducted by leading researchers at the University of Sheffield has revealed blood types play a role in the development of the nervous system and may cause a higher risk of developing cognitive decline.

The research, carried out in collaboration with the IRCCS San Camillo Hospital Foundation in Venice, shows that people with an 'O' blood type have more grey matter in their brain, which helps to protect against diseases such as Alzheimer's, than those with 'A', 'B' or 'AB' blood types.

Research fellow Matteo De Marco and Professor Annalena Venneri, from the University's Department of Neuroscience, made the discovery after analyzing the results of 189 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans from healthy volunteers.

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