Your blood type can predict your risk of dementia

What blood type are you? Some people know of the top of their head, others really don’t have any idea unless they take a visit to the doctor. But we should all know what our blood type is, especially now it’s been found to actually influence our risk of age related diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

According to researchers at the University of Sheffield in England, those with an O blood type have more gray matter in their brain, which helps ward off diseases such as Alzheimer’s, than those with A, B or AB blood types.

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

Grey matter, largely composed of neuronal cell bodies, serves to process information in the brain. As we age, a reduction of gray matter volumes typically occurs.

Venneri and other researchers analysed the results of 189 MRI scans from healthy volunteers. They calculated the volumes of gray matter within the brain and then looked at the differences based on blood type.

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The results, published in the Brain Research Bulletin, show that individuals with an O blood type have more grey matter in the posterior proportion of the cerebellum. In comparison, those with A, B or AB blood types had less gray matter in parts of the brain including the left hippocampus, which deals with the formation of long-term memories.

The results from the new study mirrored 2014 research that also looked at blood type and brain function. That study, by researchers at the University of Vermont, found that those with the rare AB blood type, present in less than 10% of the population, have a higher than average risk of cognitive problems as they age.

While it doesn’t conclude everything we need to know about the issue, it does give us some very interesting insights into just how our bodies may be working. If you aren’t one of those with a O blood type, don’t stress! There are many other ways to keep dementia at bay.

Some of these were outlined by a study conducted by The Disconnected Mind in the UK and the key five things to do to prevent dementia risk by up to one third include:

1. Get regular exercise – gentle to moderate exercise daily is recommended, scientists claim up to 150 minutes per week is ideal.

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2. Do not smoke. Smokers are healthiest if they quite at 40 – studies suggest this can maintain an additional 10 years of life.

3. Maintain a healthy bodyweight – don’t settle being “overweight”, we should be in our healthy range.

4. Eat a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is high in fish, nuts, whole grains and ‘healthy’ fats such as those in olive oil, while low in red meat and dairy products. Studies suggest three to five or more portions of fruit and vegetables with fat making up less than 30 per cent of calories.

5. A Low or moderate alcohol consumption. This is classified as three or fewer units per day for men, two or fewer for women, with abstinence not treated as a healthy behaviour. A small 125ml glass of wine contains 1.3 units, while a pint of beer contains at least two units.

So tell us, what is your blood type?