As strange as it sounds, scientists at Stanford University’s School of Medicine are now claiming that transfusions of young blood into elderly patience can potentially reverse the aging process. The study, published in the journal Science, might offer some insight into reversing some aliments such as Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers believe.
Being heralded as a “breakthrough” that could lead to a new era in anti-aging treatments, researchers found that blood from young donors “actually ‘recharges’ the brain, forms new blood vessels and improves memory and learning,” according to the Telegraph UK.
Scientists at Harvard University have also discovered, in parallel research, that there is a “youth protein” which circulates in the blood. It is what is responsible, they explain, for keeping the brain and muscles young and strong.
This protein is known as “GDF11”. It is present in the bloodstream in large quantities earlier in life, but it diminishes as we age.
Scientists are hoping to begin human trials in the next two to three years. So far studies have been limited to trials in mice, but researches believe that they can extrapolate data from this that could bring rapid improvements for human longevity and health.
“This should give us all hope for a healthier future,” Professor Doug Melton, from Harvard’s department of stem cell and regenerative biology explained.
“We all wonder why we were stronger and mentally more agile when young, and these two unusually exciting papers actually point to a possible answer.
“There seems to be little question that GDF11 has an amazing capacity to restore aging muscle and brain function.”
Professor Lee Rubin, a Harvard stem cell biologist, weighed in, saying that: “We do think that, at least in principal, there will be a way to reverse some of the decline of aging with a single protein. It isn’t out of question that GDF11, or a drug developed from it, might be worthwhile in [treating] Alzheimer’s disease.”
It is quit possible, even likely that this protein is at least partly responsible for what the Stanford University found, when they discovered that young blood can reverse the signs of aging.
“We’ve shown that at least some age-related impairments in brain function are reversible. They’re not final,” Dr Saul Villeda, of Stanford’s School of Medicine, explained.
What the researchers did was take the blood of three-month-old mice and repeatedly inject it into 18-month-old mice who were near the end of their natural life span. What they began dubbing as the “vampire therapy” was borne out of data showing the improvement of performance in the elderly mice who were suddenly able to improve performance in memory and learning new tasks.
“This could have been done 20 years ago,” Dr Tony Wyss-Coray, from Stanford University, said. Dr. Wyss-Coray, the lead researcher, continued, saying “You don’t need to know anything about how the brain works. You just give an old mouse young blood and see if the animal is smarter than before.
“It’s just that nobody did it. Our data indicate that exposure of aged mice to young blood late in life is capable of rejuvenating synaptic plasticity and improving cognitive function.”
(Article by James Achisa)