ABO Blood Group and Dementia Risk--A Scandinavian Record-Linkage Study

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 4;10(6):e0129115. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129115. eCollection 2015.


Background: Dementia includes a group of neuro-degenerative disorders characterized by varying degrees of cognitive impairment. Recent data indicates that blood group AB is associated with impaired cognition in elderly patients. To date there are no large-scale studies that have examined the relationship between ABO blood group and dementia-related disorders in detail.

Methods: We used data from the SCANDAT2 database that contains information on over 1.6 million blood donors from 1968 in Sweden and 1981 from Denmark. The database was linked with health outcomes data from nationwide patient and cause of death registers to investigate the relationship between blood groups and risk of different types of dementia. The incident rate ratios were estimated using log-linear Poisson regression models.

Results: Among 1,598,294 donors followed over 24 million person-years of observation we ascertained 3,615 cases of Alzheimer's disease, 1,842 cases of vascular dementia, and 9,091 cases of unspecified dementia. Overall, our study showed no association between ABO blood group and risk of Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia or unspecified dementia. This was also true when analyses were restricted to donors aged 70 years or older except for a slight, but significantly decreased risk of all dementia combined in subjects with blood group A (IRR, 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.88-0.98), compared to those with blood group O.

Conclusions: Our results provide no evidence that ABO blood group influences the risk of dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System / metabolism*
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / etiology*
  • Dementia, Vascular / epidemiology
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • ABO Blood-Group System

Grant support

This work was supported by funds from the Strategic research program in epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish research council, the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, and the Swedish Society for Medical Research.