A new study suggests people with a rare blood type may be at a greater risk for memory loss later in life.

The study, published in American Academy of Neurology, found that people with the blood type AB— which is about four percent of the U.S. population— were 82 percent more likely to develop memory issues than people with other blood types.  

“Our study looks at blood type and risk of cognitive impairment, but several studies have shown that factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia,” said study author Mary Cushman.

Researchers examined 30,000 people over a three-year period, and found that 495 of the participants who initially reported no issues had gone on to develop memory or cognitive issues during the study. The volunteers were then compared to 587 people with no cognitive issues by the end of the study.  

People with AB blood type were found to make up 6 percent of the group who developed cognitive impairment, higher than the percent found in the U.S. population.

“Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health,” Cushman said. “More research is needed to confirm these results.