You read that right. Yes, in the ongoing search for the fountain of youth, it was discovered that one possible solution, at least for the treatment of age related cognitive impairments, might be the use of young blood to reverse the damage on the brain. Sounds too much like science fiction? Well, as much it might be, it works, at least for mice.
Published in the journal Nature Medicine, Tony Wyss-Coray and his colleagues went on about their use of infused plasma from young mice injected into older mice. Apparently, through some way, the older mice were then able to perform better at memory tests than previously before.
It gets even weirder, though. Mice were apparently surgically conjoined so that blood flows between two individual mice. In the study, they compared two conjoined mice, one young, one old, with another pair, both old.
The scientists observed and measured the effect of the young blood on the brains of the older mice in simple memory tests, which involved both learning and memory. They did this by looking for changes in brain circuits and cells, and particularly, the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is very vulnerable to aging, and it erodes in the brain as it ages. However, this region is affected more and erosion happens faster with people who suffer from dementia like Alzheimer’s disease.
Through a series of tests, it was found that those older mice infused with younger blood were able to perform significantly better on the memory tests than other older mice. Additionally, the hippocampus in the older mice were much more similar to those of younger mice as well. The hippocampi were healthy and young, with reduced signs of aging.
This research gives us a better understanding concerning the brain and how much improvement can really be done. It also shows the possibility that this unique feat might just apply to humans as well. However, this research needs further testing before human trials can occur. But as for now, the future seems bright.