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Three new studies, published on Sunday in the journal Science,, have discovered that a young mouse’s blood, when ...
Three new studies, published on Sunday in the Journal Science, have discovered that a young mouse’s blood, when put into the circulatory system of an elderly mouse, can reverse some of aging’s effects.
When the blood of a young mouse is injected into the older mouse’s body, researchers have discovered improvements in the older mouse's brain and muscle functioning. After four weeks of testing its reactions, the older mouse was much more able to produce neurons and muscle tissue.
The mouse that received the blood transfusion seems to navigate mazes faster and to run longer on treadmills. The reaction was different for a young mouse receiving blood from an older one. The formation of new cells in the young mouse moderated and the old blood caused premature aging.
The results from this scientific research are promising, but there are still questions to be answered. Is this going to work on humans? What is the right dose of blood to be used to counter aging? Are there any long-term side effects?
Neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray of Stanford University announced his hopes to start with human studies as soon as possible. His very new company, Alkahest, has in mind the first clinical trial at Stanford this year. In this study, young blood is to be given to patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers will keep track of the participants’ condition before and after.
The young mice in the three studies were equivalent to people in their 20s. So this is considered the age range for donors used in the next researches.
“Most diseases that affect industrialized nations have a very strong aging component, and these are currently studied in isolation,” Wyss-Coray said. “But age is the key risk factor for all these diseases.”
The process of aging is a field in which scientists’ understanding is still unclear. In both mice and people, cognitive ability, organ function or stem-cell numbers decline with time, but it is not sure why. Pairing old and young mice has become the most common tool for age researches.
None of the studies tested longevity, but the effects of young blood appear to last for a few weeks after the injection. However, additional research is needed before trying any human experiments.