How did Dracula live so long? He drank the blood of people that were centuries younger.
Scientists say the prince of darkness was onto something.
The New York Times headline “Young blood may hold key to reversing aging” tells the story of an experiment that Dr. Frankenstein would have approved.
Scientists took old mice and young mice and surgically stitched pairs of them together. The blood vessels of the young mouse joined with the blood vessels of the old mouse and the two animals began sharing blood.
The old mice became “much livelier” while the young mice showed signs of premature aging. The old mice healed much more quickly and regenerated liver cells. The older mice also formed “a burst of new neurons in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is crucial for forming memories,” writes the New York Times.
Testing proved the old mice performed far better on memory tests.
Researchers theorized something in the blood of young mice was activating dormant stem cells in the blood of old mice. Scientists isolated a protein called GDF11 and injected that into old mice and it reversed skeletal muscle and cardiac aging, according to one study.
“We can turn back the clock instead of slowing the clock down,” said one researcher. “That’s a nice thought if it pans out.”
Plastic surgeons were reported to be doing cartwheels.
But it’s not all good news. The side effect of perpetual youth may be cancer.
“It is quite possible that [waking up stems cells in the blood of old people] will dramatically increase the incidence of cancer,” said one researcher.
Hey, no one, except maybe Bram Stoker and a thousand other sci-fi writers, said living forever was going to be easy.
Hopefully they will have figured out how to cure cancer by the time they figure out how to clone a small version of me and attach him to my hip like a ventriloquist dummy.
In other news that is too good to be true: Beer said to reduce cancer risk of grilled meats.
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