Do Vampires Have the Cure for Alzheimers ?Cutting Edge
Do Vampires Have the Cure for Alzheimer’s or the Real Fountain of Youth?
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never met a vampire with Alzheimers, why is that? Okay, it’s true, I have never met a vampire either, but even the make believe ones we see on television and movies are usually known and envied for their immortality and forever youthful bodies and minds, what they’re not known for is growing old, ugly, or forgetting their loved ones (if they have loved ones). Of course we all know there’s no such thing as vampires, but the question still stands: Could vampires (fictitious or not) have the cure for Alzheimers, or better yet, could they have the fountain of youth at their fangs, I mean fingertips?
Well, the answer is yes, in a way that is. No, there are no vampires, but think of what it is they do to survive, in myth that is. They survive on blood, flourish even. Perhaps because of this, perhaps not, scientists have been researching something quite similar, not the eating or drinking of blood, rather the injecting of it. To what end? In essence, to make us younger, or reverse aging in some ways, and guess what? It’s working.
The researchers working on this idea are not yet working on humans, however, their work with mice really is amazing. So, just what are they doing to these mice? They have taken the plasma or blood of young mice and injected it into old mice in the hopes that young blood is good for an old brain, and the results are very promising.
In the case of mice and young and old they are using 18 month old mice which are equivalent to a 55-70 year old human and injecting them with the plasma of younger mice of 3 months old, which is similar to that of a 20-30 year old human.
Results of this infusion of young blood shows that a cascade of changes begin in the way the older mouse’s neurons behave. Which is that they behave in a younger and more youthful way as they once used too. What about just injecting the mice though with blood from a mouse their same age? They did indeed try this, but the results are not the same. There are no beneficial changes, so the youthful blood, plasma or protein that is being injected, is actually what’s making the changes.
How well is this working?
After directly injecting young mice plasma into old mice eight times a day over 24 days, the old mice were better than the older mice that were injected with other older mouse blood at recalling where a hidden platform was and responded better to a scary environment.
Memory is not the only thing that has been found to be helped by this young blood infusion, the scientists involved are also noticing that the young blood is increasing the rate of cell birth in the brain region of the mouse called the subventricular zone.
This area of the brain is related to smell, and the mice that were injected with the younger blood were able to better discriminate odors. The benefit to this area is not only smell though, it also was shown that the blood vessels were remodeled in a way that increased blood flow, which means that there should be other benefits to the older brain as well.
How long would the effects last?
At this time the positive effects of the young blood injections into old mice is lasting about 7 weeks, not bad really when you consider all of the potential benefits from it, that is unless it’s really an awful procedure to go through. Which brings us to the question: Just how would we get the blood, plasma or protein into our bodies? Well, before you get your teeth sharpened, one note to note from the researchers is that it can’t be ingested as vampires have been shown to do, because actually the beneficial molecules wouldn’t even survive our digestive system. This is very good to know. Also good to know is that when the researchers heated the blood up, the benefits didn’t work.
So, to recap: No heating up the blood of a younger human (or mouse) and then trying to digest it, nor eating it cold, neither will work in bringing back your youth, your memory or your good looks. What can be done, however, or what they hope can be done, is that they can isolate the protein that’s actually making all the difference in these old mouse brains and they can then simply inject it into us.
This protein they have found that seems to restore some of youth’s vibrancy is called GDF11, and as we age, GDF11 begins to decline in our brains. So, once this protein can be isolated this will be great news for both the donor and the recipient of the blood since it means that there wouldn’t have to be a full transfusion or any large blood draw or injection.
Want to be young again?
Where can you sign up to get your young blood protein injection thingy? Sadly, you will have to wait awhile, no doubt a long while, and no, visiting your local blood bank or becoming Dracula won’t work. There’s always steps that must be taken first to see if such experiments will even work in humans, and of course safety is also of concern so trials will have to take place first.
But, that is where the good news comes in, and that is that they are actually beginning human trials within just a few months. This first trial is to test the effects of plasma from young donors on people with Alzheimer’s disease, and that my friend, is very good news indeed. Hopefully the trials go well and there’s soon a cure on the way for this very devastating disease, or at the very least we hope it will be of some help even if not a full on cure.