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Rare Blood Type Linked With Memory Loss Later in Life

"Highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health."

While people with a type O blood type have been found to have some positive health benefits, such as a lower risk for heart disease, a more recent study found that those with an AB blood type — the most rare type — could actually see some ill health effects.

Only about 4 percent of the U.S. population has an AB blood type, but the study published in the journal Neurology found that these people were 82 percent more likely than other blood types to develop memory and cognitive issues later in life.

“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,” study author Dr. Mary Cushman with the University of Vermont College of Medicine, said in a statement. “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.”

The study, which involved 30,000 people 45 years and older who were followed for more than three years, found that people with an AB blood type had a higher levels of a blood clotting protein. This protein was already associated with memory problems and has been linked with dementia.

If you have an AB blood type, Dr. Simon Ridley with the Alzheimer's Research UK told BBC that the study didn't look at the risk dementia specifically associated with this blood type and he advised a healthy lifestyle to help mitigate some possible memory issues later in life.

"Current evidence suggests the best ways to keep the brain healthy are a balanced diet, not smoking and regular exercise," he told BBC.

(H/T: Huffington Post)

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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