Can Young Blood Reverse Old Age?

It’s a story as timeless as that of Elizabeth Bathory, an evil Hungarian countess who murdered peasant girls for their blood to use in a black magic ritual that was supposed to grant her ever lasting  youth and beauty. Okay, the historical accuracy of that statement has been debated… the blood-collecting, not the murders… there really were murders. Look, I’m getting at the whole “blood has life-prolonging and healing” properties thing. It’s been part of folklore for centuries and now science is putting that theory to the test. Where’s the Mythbusters when you need ’em?

Go on… keep make jokes about Hungary’s name… she won’t bite… until after you’re dead.

The Stanford School of Medicine in California is conducting a study that will involve giving young blood to those with Alzheimer’s disease. The blood was collected through non-lethal donations and not abduction-murders, ’cause that’s kinda illegal.  According to reports, donors had to be under 30 years of age, which means I have less than six years of hiding in my attic before Hungarian vampire-witches try to steal my blood for “scientific purposes.”

And yes, the trial will involve humans — we’ve moved past mice. In fact, it was years of studying the effect young blood had in mice that led to the trial. And yes, it had benefits… they have reportedly “shown that an infusion of young blood in older mice can improve their cognition, physical endurance and the health of several organs. It even makes them look younger.

Only time will tell if humans experience the transfusions in the same way that mice do. Could it all be a coincidence? Well, modern science believes that blood contain’s GDF11, which functions as a growth factor that decreases as you get older. So, maybe Bathory was onto something? Makes you rethink that whole leech thing, too, doesn’t it? Ah, the things we do for science!

[New Scientist]

This Jersey Boy's a graduate of Rutgers University, but his heart will always belong to his hometown of Manhattan. And it's pronounced "Wit-2"...maybe, I should trademark that...