A team of researchers from the University of Sheffield have disclosed the results of a groundbreaking new study, which reveals that our blood types have a significant influence on how our nervous system develops, and they may play a role in increasing the risk factors of suffering from cognitive decline.
The study, conducted as a collaborative research with the IRCCS San Camillo Hospital Foundation, Venice, reveals that individuals who have an O blood type tend to have more grey matter within their brain, which aids in shielding their brain against various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Their protective mechanisms are much greater than individuals with A, B or AB blood types.
The researchers examined the results obtained more 189 MRI scans obtained from healthy individuals to take into account a diverse sample of blood types. They extensively explored all the differences that make on blood type different from another, particularly differences in the volumes of grey matter within the brain.
The study was published in a prominent journal, The Brain Research Bulletin, and the results revealed that those who have an O blood type tend to have considerably more grey matter within the cerebellum. On the other hand, individuals who have A, B or AB blood types tend to have a comparatively smaller volume of grey matter within their temporal and limbic areas of the brain, especially the left hippocampus, which happens to be one of the first parts of the brain to suffer from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
The results of this study reveal that all individuals who don’t have an O blood type tend to have smaller grey matter volumes within their brain. The natural process of ageing also brings about reductions in the volumes of grey matter, however, given the differences in grey matter across the various blood types, those who have a non-O blood type will experience an intense reduction in grey matter as they age.
These results seem to suggest that individuals who have an O blood type have greater protection from diseases such as Alzheimer’s or others that bring about volumetric decreases in the mediotemporal and temporal regions within the brain. However, before these results can be generalized, it is important to carry out further research and extensive tests to understand all the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the reductions and differences in grey matter volumes.
Even though the study has been validated with a well-established series of clinical observations and MRI scans, there is still need for further inquiry. While we are aware of the striking differences in the grey matter volumes, and it has been established that blood types play a detrimental role in the development of the nervous system, we still need to inquire why and how such difference take place by understanding the underlying biological mechanisms.
Source: Amy Pullan – University of Sheffield
Image Credit: The image is credited to the researchers and is adapted from the press release
Original Research: Abstract for “‘O’ blood type is associated with larger grey-matter volumes in the cerebellum” by Matteo De Marco and Annalena Venneri in Brain Research Bulletin. Published online June 03 2015 doi:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2015.05.005