Cue all the “vampire” headlines

Yep. “We want young blood” is soon to become a popular request as studies show it is rejuvenating.

New studies show that young blood reverses the effects of aging when put into older mice – The Washington Post.

A trio of new studies has discovered that the blood of young mice appears to reverse some of the effects of aging when put into the circulatory systems of elderly mice.

After combining the blood circulations of two mice by conjoining them — one old, the other young — researchers found dramatic improvements in the older mouse’s muscle and brain. After four weeks, stem cells in both those areas got a boost of activity and were better able to produce neurons and muscle tissue.

They later discovered that injections of a special protein found abundantly in young blood — or even transfusions of whole young blood — give the same advantages as sharing a blood supply.

Old mice who were injected with the protein or who received a blood transfusion navigated mazes faster and ran longer on treadmills. They easily outperformed their control peers, who were given only saline.

All three publications are related and in prestigious journals. They have yet to be critically examined but researchers say the results support each other. As this piece notes, many questions remain. Does it work on humans? Can it be useful and how? But already human studies are proposed to test the procedure on Alzheimer’s patients.

One aspect that is potentially shocking is the way the study was conducted. It’s not for the squeamish.

The studies started with a Frankenstein-like setup called parabiosis. Small flaps of skin from the sides of two genetically identical mice are cut and sewn together. As the wounds heal, their tissue begins to fuse. The mice, now conjoined, share a single blood supply. Pairing old and young mice, or heterochronic parabiosis, has become an unexpectedly insightful tool for age research.

The Science study found that after four to five weeks of heterochronic parabiosis, the muscle stem cells from the older partners had less DNA damage compared with controls. Their neural stem cells got a boost of activity as well, and they had a greater amount of blood flow in their brains.

It was determined that protein injections (GDF11) had the same effect as shared circulation. So we don’t have to resort to fusing bodies together or drinking blood but injection of a certain protein. Will this eventually become the new “Centrum Silver” supplement? It’s impossible to say at this stage but if strides can be made in debilitating aging disease treatments like dementia and Alzheimer’s, this is tremendous news. Science takes a while so there will be no products or treatments available overnight. Don’t fall for any so-called ‘vampire therapy’. That would be bogus.

Recall from a while back, vampire facials. YUCK. There is no relation to this research.


  8 comments for “Cue all the “vampire” headlines

  1. John Nowak
    May 5, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    This sounds like the setup for the coolest horror movie ever.

    Science is awesome.

  2. cwart
    May 5, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Does it work even better if the young mice are virgins too?

  3. Chris Howard
    May 5, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Well, it does taste better. Just sayin’

  4. Lagaya1
    May 5, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    So if someone introduces you to their much-younger conjoined twin, you know something’s up.

  5. Bob Blaskiewicz
    May 5, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Um, does this mean that we need to clone younger versions of ourselves? It’s The Clonus Horror! Hooray!

  6. terry the censor
    May 5, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    The Simpsons covered this waaaay back in season two. Bart donates blood to Mr. Burns, who becomes (relatively) invigorated and (at least for one episode) a happy, thoughtful man (he writes a memoir and takes up tennis).

  7. One Eyed Jack
    May 6, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Countdown until someone tries this and suffers a fatal transfusion reaction or contracts a blood borne disease.

  8. CLamb
    May 6, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Didn’t Dr. Josef Mengele try joining the circulatory systems of identical twin humans?

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