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Does Blood Type Predict Alzheimer’s Risk?

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As a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care Douglas County families count on, we strive to share relevant, insightful information with the community on a wide array of senior health topics. In honor of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we’re dedicating this blog to current research on another possible cause of the disease.

According to a new study, your blood type may actually predict your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, among other health problems. The study, conducted by the University of Sheffield in Britain, found that there is a relationship between blood type and Alzheimer’s risk. 

To discover how blood type influences dementia risk, researchers compared the grey matter volume in different brain regions to different blood types. After conducting MRI brain scans of almost 200 healthy volunteers, the researchers found that people with O-type blood have more cerebellum grey matter than people with any other blood type. Researchers also found that people with A-, B-, and AB-type blood have less grey matter in the limbic and temporal brain regions. This includes the left hippocampus, which is the region of the brain that is usually first affected by Alzheimer’s. 

As we age, we naturally lose grey matter volume, which reduces the brain’s capacity for processing information. Because people with O-type blood have more grey matter, researchers believe their ability to process information is protected against neurodegenerative disorders and dementia for a longer period of time. 

Researchers still aren’t sure exactly why O-type blood offers greater protection against many diseases, although future research will focus on the biology of blood types to understand how they influence the development of neurological disorders. Previous research has found that AB blood is somehow related to clotting factors and proteins in the blood, which may in part explain why people with AB blood are more likely to develop memory and thinking problems later in life. 

A 2014 Harvard Medical study supports these finding, determining that individuals with AB blood had an 82 percent higher risk of developing cognitive impairment than people with O blood.

If your aging parent or relative has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you’re unsure what comes next, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our care services are customized to meet your loved one’s needs, care can be increased, decreased, or stopped at any time without penalty, and all services include the use of our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, designed to boost mental acuity and slow cognitive decline. To learn more about elderly care in Douglas County, give us a call at 720-287-1685 and speak with a dedicated Care Manager today.