The University of Maryland conducted a groundbreaking study, published in the journal Neurology, unveiling a significant correlation between an individual's blood type and their risk of experiencing an early stroke. Focused on young adult ischemic stroke caused by blockages in brain blood flow, the research delved into gene variants linked to blood types, examining extensive data from genetic studies.
Lead author Braxton D. Mitchell from the University of Maryland School of Medicine highlighted the study's findings indicating a robust association between non-O blood types and an elevated risk of early stroke compared to late-onset stroke. Mitchell emphasized, “Our meta-analysis suggests that gene variants tied to blood types A and O are predominantly linked with early stroke, potentially predisposing individuals with these genetic markers to blood clots, a contributing factor to stroke.”
The study encompassed data from 48 genetic studies on ischemic stroke across North America, Europe, and Asia, comprising 16,927 stroke-afflicted individuals aged 18 to 59 and 576,353 unaffected individuals. Those experiencing early onset stroke, defined as occurring before 60, were notably associated with blood type A, while individuals without stroke or with late-onset stroke, occurring after 60, were more likely linked to blood type O. Both early and late stroke cases showed a higher correlation with blood type B.
However, the study's scope was limited by the diversity of its participants, with only 35 percent representing non-European ancestry, potentially impacting the generalizability of the findings.
Jennifer Juhl Majersik, a University of Utah researcher and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, stressed the study's significance in advancing understanding of early onset stroke and its implications. Majersik advocated for further research to gain a nuanced understanding of stroke development, envisioning targeted preventative measures that could alleviate disability during individuals' most productive years.
This pioneering research sheds light on the intricate relationship between blood types and stroke risk, paving the way for potential advancements in personalized preventative strategies and treatments for early onset stroke, underscoring the importance of continued scientific exploration in this realm.