Why Vampires Live So Long

by on May 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm in Law, Medicine, Science | Permalink

NYTimes: Two teams of scientists published studies on Sunday showing that blood from young mice reverses aging in old mice, rejuvenating their muscles and brains. As ghoulish as the research may sound, experts said that it could lead to treatments for disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

wallpaper-true-blood-bottle-1600The key papers are here and here and here. Some of the papers are pointing to a specific protein but the last paper suggests that simple transfusions also work and that raises a number of issues of public policy. As Derek Lowe notes:

Since blood plasma is given uncounted thousands of times a day in every medical center in the country, this route should have a pretty easy time of it from the FDA. But I’d guess that Alkahest is still going to have to identify specific aging-related disease states for its trials, because aging, just by itself, has no regulatory framework for treatment, since it’s not considered a disease per se.

…You also have to wonder what something like this would do to the current model of blood donation and banking, if it turns out that plasma from an 18-year-old is worth a great deal more than plasma from a fifty-year-old. I hope that the folks at the Red Cross are keeping up with the literature.

Dan Weber May 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Bryan Caplan just added another chapter to “Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids”

Anon May 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm

+1

Paul May 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Actually I’d say +1 +1 +1

asg May 6, 2014 at 7:06 am

+1

ummm May 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm

yeah but without a bone marrow transplant the young blood would eventually be replaced by your older blood

Cliff May 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Too bad you can only get one blood transfusion in a lifetime

Dave Connors May 5, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I thought this was a very old discovery. Robert Heinlein mentioned this at the end of his book “Methuselah’s Children” (1941)? – I assumed he got the idea from existing medical research.

Z May 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I also recommend eating the still beating heart of your enemy.

Hadur May 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm

The world owes a big apology to Elizabeth Bathory.

dearieme May 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Monkey glands! Everything comes round again.

Dr. Brinkley May 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

No no, it’s goat glands. Works every time!

Rob May 5, 2014 at 1:58 pm

“ageing, just by itself, has no regulatory framework for treatment, since it’s not considered a disease per se.”

It’s quite insane that you can’t sell drugs that merely *prevent ageing*.

prior_approval May 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm

The cosmetics industry wouldn’t have it any other way.

chuck martel May 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Kidnapped Guatemalan children are already being raised in Manhattan to supply mortality evasion for members of the .01%. They’re fed well but generally uneducated and restricted to broadcast TV for entertainment.

Thor May 5, 2014 at 7:43 pm

+1

RR May 5, 2014 at 2:38 pm

In the longest run , none of our blood is (actually) ours.

albatross May 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Well, kid, look at it this way: at least your marginal productisn’t zero anymore….

B.B. May 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

It may be an alarming prediction, but is it a two-way street? Could blood donated from a older person who has heart disease, given to a young person, age that person and promote heart disease?

Ultimately, not only will we have blood typing, but blood aging.

John Hall May 5, 2014 at 4:29 pm

As a college student, I used to sell my plasma all the time. An hour or so watchin’ a movie and you get some decent cash (for a college student anyway). Paid for my drinking throughout college.

chuck martel May 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Movie? Are you sure you weren’t donating sperm?

Thor May 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm

That does explain the lack of a syringe.

A May 5, 2014 at 6:38 pm

This is one of those practices that sounds like a cheesy metaphor for exploitation. But a younger person receives income from an older person who becomes more productive. Properly implemented, blood selling could be a win win. Improperly implemented, like through illegalization of a thing people really want, and you encourage creepy blood black markets. People who sell youthful blood illegally might not be the same kind of people who would sell it under a regulated system.

Paul May 5, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Solution to the youth unemployment problem?

Larry May 5, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Last week they announced the first blood cells grown from stem cells.

http://www.gizmag.com/lab-grown-red-blood-cells/31745

I wonder whether that’s “young” blood.

In any event, it looks like the blood industry is about to get majorly disrupted. Somebody call Clayton Christensen.

andrew' May 6, 2014 at 5:21 am

I think I did this the other day!

Indur Goklany May 5, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Already factored into the ACA: Take from the young and healthy and give to the old and decrepit.

Gives “new blood” fresh meaning.

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