Young Blood May Unlock the Fountain of Youth

In the 1950s, Professor Clive McCay studied aging and nutrition in his Cornell Laboratory. In an experiment on rats, young blood was transfused from healthy, juvenile rats into sick, aging rats. McCay observed that cartilage tissue in the old rats appeared youthful. He was, unfortunately, unable to explain his findings.

Over 50 years later, Stanford revived the experiments. In 2005, they reported that old mice joined with a young mouse for five weeks boosted the healing rate of the old mouse to that of the younger. Further, the old mouse developed new liver cells at a youthful rate. Taking their research further, they injected young blood from a human into elderly mice and witnessed the same effect.

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We Suck Young Blood. Vampires and Alzheimer’s

This year studies increased evidence that young blood can be used to halt the aging process. Harvard researchers were able to rejuvenate hearts, boost muscle strength and endurance as well as catalyze neuron growth in the brain.

Where does therapy begin and myth end? Well, this is not for vampires. The process used by McCay and his colleagues make an artificial conjoined twin. When the tissue heals, the animals share their circulatory systems. Researchers believe stems cells carried in young blood signal the older organ cells to rejuvenate.

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The young mice, however, age prematurely and their muscles heal slower. The importance of the finding was showing something in the young blood had the power to heal the old. Additionally, old blood dampens the resilience of youthful cells and tissue.

In October, clinical trials began for studying the effect of young blood administered to Alzheimer’s patients. The Stanford experiments identified a protein, GDF-11; abundant in the young blood of humans and mice, scarce in the elderly. In the trial, plasma donated from adults under the age of 30 will be administered to patients with mild to moderate Alzheimers.

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