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Today, more than 5.2 million Americans have the brain-destroying disease known as Alzheimer’s disease. And research at the University of Vermont shows that your blood type may forecast your risk of becoming one of these unfortunates.
The Vermont analysis demonstrates that if your blood type is AB, your risk of memory problems as you age increases significantly compared to people with other blood types.
The AB blood type is the scarcest blood type, only found in about 4 percent of Americans. This research found that if you are AB, you are 82 percent more likely to suffer the type of memory disruption that leads to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than the rest of the U.S. population. (And the researchers note that other studies demonstrate that people who are type O also run a reduced chance of stroke and heart problems: That improved cardiovascular health provides type Os with some protection against memory difficulties and dementia.)
The Vermont scientists came to their conclusions by looking at data from research called the Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. The REGARDS study followed more than 30,000 people for more than three years.
“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,” says researcher Mary Cushman. “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.”