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Medicine Science

Elderly Mice Perk Up With Transfused Blood 178

Some exciting news, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, might make you glad that human blood is a renewable resource: "Giving old mice blood from young ones makes them smarter and improves such functions as exercise capacity, according to reports from two research teams that point to new ways to study and potentially treat diseases of aging. In one study, researchers at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco found that blood transfusions from young mice reversed cognitive effects of aging, improving the old mice's memory and learning ability. The report was published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine. Two other reports appearing in Science from researchers at Harvard University found that exposing old mice to a protein present at high levels in the blood of young mice and people improved both brain and exercise capability. An earlier report by some of the same researchers linked injections of the protein to reversal of the effects of aging on the heart. ... What isn't known from all this research, said Buck Institute's Dr. [Brian] Kennedy, is whether young blood might also increase the life span of mice and, if so, what such implications for humans might be."
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Elderly Mice Perk Up With Transfused Blood

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  • Vampirism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2014 @02:29AM (#46916989)

    I can see the dystopia: Young people selling blood to old folks to pay the interest on student debt, mortgage debt, credit card debt... the old generation literally sucking the blood of the new generation.

  • Re:Vampirism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @04:04AM (#46917211) Homepage Journal

    The young poor will be forced to give blood to the old rich. The old poor will be expected to die before they start actually using their social security.

  • Re: Vampirism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2014 @05:50AM (#46917481)

    (Another AC here)

    Anti-aging doesn't necessarily mean living longer, it can mean living in better health.

  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @05:54AM (#46917491)
    As it stands, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States donate blood and plasma everyday, not out of goodness of heart, but for the quick $50 you get. If it turns out that this procedure not only works on humans, but that the effects are substantial, and the FDA actually approved the practice, the value and price of blood would go up and the number of donors would skyrocket. This could cause problems like increasing the cost of a blood transfusion for someone who is bleeding out from a bad accident. It may introduce social problems like a suddenly expanding elderly population, but perhaps they would be better able to take care of themselves and would require less age-disease related medication. Then their is the problem of who pays for it. People who retired with a lot of money may be able to pay what could be a hefty price, but what of people in lower classes? If this extends life, would it not be a right to life issue where anyone past a certain age is guaranteed the procedure? Would Medicare pick up the bill? What about retirement and the employment market? Ideally we will discover that a whole blood transfusion is not necessary but that instead there is just one component of young blood that would need distilled, cloned, grown in a lab and infused in smaller amounts then a full transfusion.

    At the end of the day, life extension is one of the major goals of modern medicine, and aging itself is increasingly be viewed as a disease. Whether or not this pans out, eventually something will, and we will then enter into stranger times then we already live. Cheers to the future for better or worse.
  • Re:Vampirism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuperDre ( 982372 ) on Monday May 05, 2014 @07:27AM (#46917777) Homepage
    Well, what do you think would happen if we all lived much longer? Overpopulation.... And all those people need a job, but there aren't any.. We first need to rethink our society before we actually go and create 'immortality'...

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky