It may seem the stuff of gothic horror novels, but transfusions of young blood could reverse the aging process and even cure Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists believe.
Throughout history, cultures across the globe have extolled the properties of youthful blood, with children sacrificed and the blood of young warriors drunk by the victors.
It was even rumored that the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il injected himself with blood from healthy young virgins to slow the aging process.
Now scientists have found that young blood actually ‘recharges’ the brain, forms new blood vessels and improves memory and learning.
In parallel research, scientists at Harvard University also discovered that a ‘youth protein’ which circulates in the blood is responsible for keeping the brain and muscles young and strong.
The protein, known as ‘GDF11’, is present in the bloodstream in large quantities when we are young but peters out as we age.
“There seems to be little question that, GDF11 has an amazing capacity to restore aging muscle and brain function.”
Last year the team discovered that the protein could repair damaged hearts. But the new study showed that that raising the levels of the GDF11 protein in older mice improved the function of every organ in the body. Harvard stem cell biologist Prof Lee Rubin added: “We do think that, at least in principal, there will be a way to reverse some of the decline of aging with a single protein.
"It isn't out of question that GDF11, or a drug developed from it, might be worthwhile in Alzheimer's Disease.”
It is likely that the protein is at least partly responsible for the parallel finding by Stanford University that young blood can reverse the signs of aging.
Let's hope that this is not a way that the old can feed on the youngPosted by Jill Fallon at May 5, 2014 10:39 AM | Permalink