Injecting/transfusing yourself with the blood of virgins (Kim Jong II and Pope Innocent VIII – well maybe not so innocent as blood donors all died), bathing in it (Countess Bathory – or Ingrid Pitt if you’re a Hammer film fan) or just taking a bloody bite (Dracula and a long line of vampires since) may seem other-worldly but scientists now believe that they may have been onto something.
Scientists in California are testing an Alzheimer’s treatment that involves injecting blood plasma from young people in the hope it will reduce brain ageing.
Saul Vileda’s experiments with mice of different ages showed that when you mix their blood. Giving blood from older mice to younger mice accelerated cognitive decline.
He then found that when he injected older mice with young blood it changed the brain circuitry in the older mice creating new synaptic connections. Plasticity also returned relating to learning and memory-related genes.
He believes it’s because the proportion of different molecules in blood changes with age and older blood has more factors associated with inflammation.
Since the research was published they have received offers of children’s blood and requests from aged billionaires.
However they have taken an ethical stance and in trials at Stanford University volunteers with early stage Alzheimer’s are being injected with young blood plasma. The experiment is reported in a BBC documentary “How to stay young”.
As Vileda says “We have heard about vampires. Is there some truth in that? Children heal so quickly. Is it the fountain of youth?”
Well, vampires are immortal after all.