Can young blood repair tissues in an older body? An interesting question, and the method to finding an answer is also pretty intriguing. Parabiotic experiments, where two animals share a common bloodstream, could provide insight into the possibility of using ‘young blood’ to help turn back the biological clock.
In animal studies, when two animals share a circulatory system, researchers have shown that the blood from the younger animal can rejuvenate older animals. In mice, it seems that there is a muscle-rejuvenating factor in young mouse blood that helps repair damage to older tissues. In rats, the lifespan of the older animal was longer than expected, and bone density appeared to return to the condition of a younger animal.
Could this type of research benefit humans? That’s the hope. It’s possible that this research could lead to new treatments for ageing members of the population, and potentially point researchers in the direction for new treatments for Alzheimer’s. But it’s also possible that side effects from such treatments might not be worth the potential benefits. A small trial is underway, using plasma from young individuals to treat Alzheimer’s Disease. It should be interesting to see the results! Researchers also continue to work with animals to attempt to properly assess the benefits and risks of such an attempt. Read more about this fascinating research here.