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MitoQ Healthy Living Blog

Could Your Blood Type Predict Your Risk of Death?

We have the Austrian physician, Karl Landsteiner, to thank for his discovery of different human blood groups in 1901. His research led to the development of the ABO Blood Group system, which is still the most important blood type system in use today.

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Identification of human blood as A, B, AB, or O allows for safe blood transfusions. Prior to 1901, transfusions were a risky business. Mix the wrong blood type and the patient’s own red blood cells attack the donor cells and destroy them, often with fatal consequences.


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So it stands to reason that blood groups may have other documented roles or are responsible for other differences, such as vulnerability to infection or disease. Surprisingly, we still know very little. Apart from susceptibility to malaria, a gastric bacterium, and some clotting disorders, research is lacking in this area. Which is why the current article published in BMC Medicine, has a high impact factor. The Golestan Cohort Study comprises a group of 50,045 people aged 40- to 70-years who have been followed annually, many since 2004. Cohort researchers document all incident cancers and deaths due to any cause in this ongoing study.


Over a period of almost seven years, 3623 cohort participants died. Investigators discovered that more deaths – either from cardiovascular causes or any cause – were reported in cohort members with non-O blood groups (ie, A, B, AB) than those with O blood type. No association between blood group type and death from cancer was noted, although people of non-O blood types had a higher risk of gastric cancer.


These findings support the theory that blood group types could also be used to assess health risks.


Etemadi A, Kamangar F, Islami F, et al. Mortality and cancer in relation to ABO blood group phenotypes in the Golestan Cohort Study. BMC Medicine 2015, 13:8 doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0237-8

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