THIS is the kind of cool shit that I come to BB for. It never even occurred to me to think about why we have different blood types.
I’m pretty sure my incurable pessimism is linked to my blood type: B negative.
If I understand the stiuation – it’s not that we’re born with or develop antibodies to A, B and AB blood groups. What we do develop are antibodies to molecules on the walls of gut bacteria… but these molecules are a close enough match to oligosaccharides on blood cells to respond to them too. Unless of course we have one of those flavours of blood cell, in which case the immune system avoids developing that particular antibody (leaving a gap in the defenses).
Whackyweedia says that as well as ABO and Rh, there are 29 other antigen systems which can be used for classifying blood, but those antigens aren’t close enough to bacterial antigens to come up as collateral damage – we don’t have antibodies for them – so they aren’t an issue for blood transfusion.
Perhaps Maggie can be persuaded to post something about the Japanese and Korean obsession with classifying people’s personalities and job aptitudes on the basis of their blood types?
Like MBTI, but even less fact-based!
True, for your first transfusion - and if you’ve never been pregnant - but once your body has been exposed to those antigens from a transfusion or from your fetus, they are definitely an issue for blood transfusion. I’ve spent many nights awake trying to find a couple of units for a patient who is multiparous or has been multiply transfused.
At that hospital, the most difficult cases were people with sickle-cell anemia. Since some of them needed regular transfusions from childhood on to reduce sickling, they had antibodies to just about everything. The central blood bank would pre-test units and screen out all those with known problem antigens, which helped, but even so, some units would not crossmatch with the patient’s blood.
(That article was a good primer article for blood groups. I kept thinking it was too simple, but sometimes it’s better to be short than TL;DR.)
Now, I can’t remember which one I have.
I had a relative preach at me about the benefits of the “blood type diet” (she bought the premise of the book, hook-line-and-sinker), and I thought “well, maybe it has some merit.” Except according to her I couldn’t eat a lot of my favorite foods, and had to start eating foods I didn’t like, which killed any consideration I had of trying it.
It’s hard to believe a guy could come up with a pseudo-scientific, untested premise and use it to sell 30 million diet books.
If you can’t remember which blood type you have, you’re long overdue for a visit to the blood bank to donate. They’ll give you a card that has your type on it. And you get cookies!
A diet that only lets you eat stuff you don’t like isn’t something you’re going to stick to for a long time, but it may help you lose weight temporarily.
For me, I can’t due to my disabilities and underweight.
For people who are interested in donating blood, I found that a local hospital takes direct donations which are used for their patients. I really didn’t like the idea of donating to a bank that sells my blood, especially as I have a valuable type. I once made the mistake of donating at my daughter’s school through one of the commercial outfits and then the organization called me every single night hassling me to donate. This hospital donation center is really quiet, available whenever I want to donate, and it’s a true donation, not sold for a profit.
I’ve tried to give blood but apparently America doesn’t want my nasty British claret because it’s full of mad cows.
Canada has similar restrictions. Even worse, they don’t allow gay men to donate blood, unless they have been abstinent for at least 5 years. Wooooo Canada!
Though, that does remind me that I should probably go and donate blood. It’s been way too long.
My grandfather was O- (universal donor). Back in the dark ages, he would occasionally get a call from the hospital to go give a live transfusion to someone in an emergency. Don’t see that anymore.
Seems like Chinese and Indian traditional medicine has been sneaking up on this concept for about a thousand years now.
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