It sounds like a horror film, and we wish it were. But no, it turns out some super-wealthy people are pumping themselves with the blood of young people to prevent themselves from aging. The practice has been occurring in a clinical trial conducted in California.
Over 100 people have participated in the trial which was offered at a San Francisco start-up offering blood transfusions for older patients. Reportedly, each procedure costs a staggering $8,000 (£6,200) and results in the patient receiving two-and-a-half liters of plasma (the liquid element of blood that remains after other cells are removed) taken from teenagers.
The BBC reports that the procedure “is being offered as an experimental attempt to rejuvenate the elderly” and help them regain their youthfulness. The average participant is 60-years-old.
32-year-old Jesse Karmazin, a Stanford-trained scientists who founded the clinic, told The Sunday Times that the initial results from the patients were encouraging. “It could help improve things such as appearance or diabetes or heart function or memory. These are all the aspects of ageing that have a common cause,” said Karmazin. “I’m not really in the camp of saying this will provide immortality but I think it comes pretty close, essentially.”
The study was inspired by previous studies conducted over the past 17 years by Stanford researchers. The data showed the joining of circulatory systems (also known as parabiosis) between old and young mice to be effective in rejuvenating the older host. Rejuvenated organs, muscles and stem cells were documented. Another study last year found that the plasma of young people has a rejuvenating effect when injected into older mice.
Because all the evidence thus far comes from mice-based studies, researchers have attacked Karmazin over the scientific validity of his experiment and ethical concerns. Argued Tony Wyss-Coray, the Stanford neuroscientists behind a key 2014 mice parabiosis study, “There’s just no clinical evidence [that the treatment will be beneficial].” He noted that Karmazin’s trial does not use a placebo control group, and that participants can be as young as 35-years-old.
There is also the danger of unnecessarily exposing people to the potential risks of blood infusions, which include lung injury, fatal infections and hives. Some claim the experiment is a scam.
“People want to believe that young blood restores youth, even though we don’t have evidence that it works in humans and we don’t understand the mechanism of how mice look younger,” Wyss-Coray told the MIT Technology Review.
The BBC makes the most accurate connection, saying: “[…] with a disproportionate number of America’s poorest people regularly donating plasma to make ends meet, this paints a very different picture to the strange world of regenerative medicine, where hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested by the super rich in a bid to outsmart ageing, or even death.”
Despite the opposition, Karmazin says his patients are immediately reaping the rewards of the treatment. He argued, “We’re already seeing people look better after just one treatment. It’s like plastic surgery from the inside out.”
IMAGE CREDIT:alexraths / 123RF Stock Photo
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here