According to scientists, young blood may actually be able to reduce the effects of aging in older people's brains. It's not quite as creepy as it might sound: Apparently, younger blood has more inherent regenerative properties than old blood, meaning that older people's cognitive ability may be improved through transfusions of blood from young donors.
A new study being conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine is looking into whether positive results obtained in previous experiments with mice can be replicated in humans. One of the previous studies, conducted in 2014, found that older mice's memory and learning capabilities improved when they were given blood transfusions taken from younger mice. They were also more able to repair muscle and bone after an injury and found a hidden platform in a water maze more quickly.
The researchers believe that the higher concentration of compounds that help repair and maintain tissues in younger organisms' blood, like hormones and growth factor, can explain these effects.
"We think when we treat an old organism … with young blood, we give it a boost of these young messengers, and that this recharges the old brain, and possibly other organs, and makes them function like younger ones again," Stanford neurology professor Tony Wyss-Coray said during a talk at the World Economic Forum.
The most recent study is being conducted on humans, with Alzheimer's patients receiving blood plasma transfusions from younger individuals. Their mental performance will be measured with a series of cognitive tests to see whether young blood can actually rejuvenate older people's brain functionality.
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