JOURNAL OF APPLIED SCIENCE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
University of Zimbabwe Publications
Keywords: ABO blood groups, mental illness, von Willebrand, blood group frequencies, haemostatic disorders
Blood group antigens are inherited characteristics which are grouped into 15 systems based on genetic, structural, biochemical and serological or immunological characteristics. The exact role of the blood group antigens is not yet fully understood, but recent studies have indicated some relationships between some blood group antigens and certain diseases or successes in transplantations. Some haemolytic anaemia due to membrane disorders are directly associated with abnormal or absence of certain blood groups. Other blood groups have been implicated in mental health and bleeding challenges. ABO blood group antigens are ubiquitous and are found in all body tissues. A cross sectional study was carried out at the Annex Hospital to determine the distributions of the ABO blood groups in mental health patients for a period of six months. AB and B blood group frequencies increased to 11.1% and 27% compared to 3.7% and 19.2% in the general population respectively. A and O blood group frequencies decrease to 21.6% and 39.9%, compared to 25.3% and 51.8 % in the general population respectively. Both changes were statistically significant. It can be concluded that ABO blood groups, especially AB and B, are associated with mental illnesses. The understanding of blood type and plasma von Willebrand levels would be useful in the screening, diagnosis and management of mental illness in Zimbabwe. However, ethical consideration and stigmatization associated with this approach must be taken into account. A follow up study using a larger sample size is recommended.
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