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Scientists Will Soon Know Whether Young Blood Reverses Old Age Problems

Santa's immortality just got way unsettling.


Vampires might actually be on to something. A trial is underway to find out whether or not transfusions of the blood of young people helps reverse some age-related health problems—in humans, that is. They already have data showing it works on mice. So … vampire mice. Yeah.

Anyway, if you were holding out hope that science wouldn’t validate jokes about old people keeping their vitality by drinking the blood of the young, you’re probably about to be pretty disappointed. Tony Wyss-Coray, at the Stanford School of Medicine in California, is currently leading a study wherein the blood of people aged 30 and younger has been given to mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s patients in anticipation that it will improve their symptoms.

In mice, such a procedure has been shown to improve their cognition and physical endurance as well as make them look younger and reverse heart decline. This is likely due to a growth factor found in their blood, GDF11, which decreases with age. However, the procedure is still experimental, so don’t go paying up to have it done at a private clinic/biting into anyone’s neck just yet.

Still, the prospect is exciting—if it proves effective in human beings when the results of this study are published in the near future. Right now, it’s just part of an exciting look ahead into the science of 2016. In the mean time, I’m going to be disappointed that I’ll be past the cutoff date for selling my blood to the highest bidder when that inevitably becomes part of our dystopian life-extension society.

(via New Scientist, image via Warner Bros.)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.