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Type O Blood Protects Against Alzheimer?

According to a new study published in the journal Brain Research Bulletin, O type blood might confer on people protection against factors causing cognitive decline as in Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists behind the research found that these people might be having more grey matter in their brain than people with other blood types (A, B, or AB blood types) such that they are shielded from the problems associated with impairment in cognition. The research paper is available on ScienceDirect.

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The scientists examined Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans obtained from 189 healthy volunteers who enlisted their participation. The volumes of the grey matter found in their brain were calculated, and their blood types noted.

The results then revealed that the individuals with O blood had more grey matter in the cerebellum than those with other blood types. The larger concentration of grey matter was located in the posterior region of the cerebellum, while the smaller concentrations in people with A, B, or AB blood types were spotted in the temporal and limbic regions of the brain, including the left hippocampus. The latter specially is known to undergo damage in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The volume of grey matter in the brain does normally decline with age. However, people with O blood type seemed to be different.

“The findings seem to indicate that people who have an O blood type are more protected against the diseases in which volumetric reduction is seen in temporal and mediotemporal regions of the brain like with Alzheimer’s disease for instance,” says researcher Matteo DeMarco.

“However additional tests and further research are required as other biological mechanisms might be involved.”

“What we know today is that a significant difference in volumes exists, and our findings confirm established clinical observations,” adds Annalena Venneri, professor of neuroscience at the University of Sheffield.

“In all likelihood the biology of blood types influences the development of the nervous system. We now have to understand how and why this occurs.”

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