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In the 21st century, human beings are living longer and getting bigger, but we're still obsessed with ageing and death. However, a study conducted by scientists shows that the answers to negative effects of aging, such as decreased mental facilities or muscular problems, may lie in our blood. Specifically, young blood.
Two teams of scientists, one from the University of California, the other from Harvard, have been injecting elderly mice with blood from younger rodents. Younger blood contains the protein GDF11, and older mice which were given the blood were able to make their way through mazes faster, exercise longer on treadmills and demonstrate a stronger sense of smell. The protein even rejuvenated stem cells in older muscles, making the mice stronger.
Dr. Amy Wagers, the scientist who wrote the findings, said that a "small sample of human beings had similar GDF11 levels to the mice", but acknowledged that far more research would have to be done before carrying out transfusions on humans.
Professor Irina Conboy, who also worked on the study, warned that the re-awakening of stem cells could also lead to an increased cancer risk. "It is quite possible that it will dramatically increase the incidence of cancer," she says. "You have to be careful about overselling it." So, you know, don't start collecting young virgins and bathing in their blood just yet.
But findings are undoubtedly exciting: maybe in the future, we won't need Botox or a cryogenic freezer to stay young forever – all it'll take is a simple blood transfusion.
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot