Is the secret to eternal life really found in a blood transfusion?
You may have seen Diane Sawyer on ABC World News when she announced the results of a Harvard study by Dr. Ronald DePinho.
Dr. DePinho is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of applied cancer science at the Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
He injected the blood of young mice that were feeble and old with a special compound designed to boost the mice’s telomerase.
In just one month, the old mice looked and acted like young mice.
They got their sense of smell back. They became sexually active again, and their brain function improved.
But here’s what Diane Sawyer never mentioned…
We may be able to see the same results in humans.
In a bizarre experiment at Stanford University, researchers transfused young human blood into older mice and discovered the youthful effects were the same as using young mouse blood.
The result seems to have something to do with the blood plasma itself, not the blood cells.
Scientists know that a protein in blood called growth differentiation factor diminishes as we grow older, and they suspect it may be part of the reason why young blood can be rejuvenating. But it’s unlikely to be quite that simple.
Scientists haven’t figured it out yet, but they now know there is something that keeps the young youthful.
And they are feverishly working to find the key.
For the First Time Ever…
In October, a remarkable clinical trial began with 18 older people who have moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. They’re being given blood plasma infusions from volunteers under the age of 30.
Of course, there’s barely enough volunteer blood supply to go around for operations and accidents, so if the experiment works, it isn’t a long-term solution to Alzheimer’s disease for large numbers of aging adults. But if it does work, it will spur research into which molecules in young blood keep our brains from becoming demented.
I’ll keep you posted as results are published.
To a bright future,