How sharp you are at age 65 may be tied to something totally out of your control: your blood type. And people with Type AB blood — the least common type — may face a particularly high risk of memory loss later in life, according to a study recently published in the journal Neurology. This isn’t the first time blood type has been shown to influence health risks. In a 2014 study from Pakistan, for example, people with Type A blood were shown to be at significantly higher risk of heart disease. Another recent study, published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostics Research, identified Type A blood as a possible risk factor for oral, esophageal, and salivary gland, cancers, while Type B was flagged as a potential risk factor for laryngeal cancers.
It’s also not the first time that Type AB blood has been tied specifically to vascular trouble: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis — conducted by the same researchers behind the new Neurology study — found that people with Type AB blood faced an 83 percent higher risk of stroke than those with Type O blood, which had previously been linked to reduced odds of cardiovascular issues.
The researchers have begun to explore potential links between Type AB blood and memory loss. However, this study emerged as a statistically significant link between Type AB blood and memory decline. So should Type AB people panic about preserving their memory? At least not yet, said researchers. They said the association they have seen was relatively small, and the findings need to be confirmed in other studies. However, everyone can work to maintain their cognitive function through leading a healthy lifestyle, in terms of diet, physical activity, and not smoking, as well as controlling cardiovascular risk through optimizing blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes treatment.