Young blood transfusions: rich old people become vampires of the 21st century
The stories of members of a secret world government rejuvenating themselves with someone else's blood are not so fantastic. In the United States, there is a real boom in the procedure for transfusion from young people. For a couple of liters, elderly people pay $ 8,000. And this method was invented by our compatriot in the last century. We understood what was behind the technique of blood rejuvenation.
The local Ministry of Health, the FDA, is seriously dissatisfied with what happens to blood in the United States. The regulatory authorities are dissatisfied, firstly, with the lack of evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the method, and secondly, with the real danger of the formation of a “black” market for young living blood. In general, there are enough cons. Meanwhile, both abroad and here, in Russia, scientists are gradually coming to the conclusion that it is quite possible to do without the blood of young donors to rejuvenate the body. For this, it may be enough just to dilute the blood of the "oldies" with ordinary saline solution.
The Martian Method
If you think that the Americans were the first to move from legends to business, you are wrong. Back in 1927, by order of Stalin, the Research Institute of Blood Transfusion was organized in the USSR. Alexander Bogdanov, a doctor, philosopher, revolutionary and science fiction writer, became its director. In 1908, in his science fiction novel The Red Star, he described the method of exchange transfusion. The hero of the novel, revolutionary Leonid, goes to Mars, whose inhabitants live according to the principles of communism. Their age lasts twice as long as that of earthlings, due to the existing technology of rejuvenating the body - the transfusion of young blood to mature Martians.
Bogdanov studied methods of improving blood transfusion for various pathologies, and developed effective tools for this. The doctor infected the leaders of the proletariat with his idea of the healing blood, and his theory received the support of Stalin himself.
Several hundred successful transfusions were carried out under the leadership of Bogdanov. He believed so much in a "miraculous", rejuvenating environment that he himself became one of the first "subjects", having made himself 11 (!) Transfusions. At first, the effect was satisfactory, but the twelfth transfusion was fatal for him. Three hours after the procedure, he developed a severe transfusion reaction, and his fellow doctors were not able to save him. It is then that scientists will come to the conclusion that more transfusion volumes can lead to such an end.
How the old rats got younger
The modern era of the race for blood rejuvenation began in the late 1990s, when Stanford University researchers Irina and Michael Conboy began a series of experiments with rats. Scientists stitched together the circulatory systems of young and old individuals, obtaining the effect of mixing blood. As a result of young blood flowing through the vessels of old, two-year-old rats, they began to look younger before our eyes.
In 2005, the couple published an article in Nature. It stated breathtaking facts: after transfusion, the molecular signs of aging disappeared in rodents, stem cells began to divide more actively, and the skin smoothed. In 2013, specialists from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, repeating Conboy's experiment, supplemented the results of their predecessors with data on the renewal of not only the muscular system of old rats "sewn" with young rats, but also the heart and blood vessels of the brain!
The actual age difference between donor and recipient rats in terms of human age was almost half a century, but the physiological age difference was obliterated.It seemed that the Makropulos remedy was already in our hands, it only remained to find which component of young blood plays the main violin here.
In 2016, in the same journal Nature, the Conboys described a different research method - not mixing blood, but its exchange between young and old individuals. They severed the circulatory systems of animals, pre-transfusing the old about 50% of the blood of the young. Strange, but in the "oldies" the effect of rejuvenation disappeared almost immediately, but in the young, who were transfused with old blood, signs of premature aging began to be noticeable.
The researchers came to the conclusion that the point is not in the mysterious protein of youth, but rather in the accumulating molecules of old age. While the animals were sewn together, the blood of old rats was diluted for a longer time by the young, which reduced its negative effect, and therefore the elderly rats looked younger before our eyes.
As Sergey Kiselev, the head of the laboratory of the Institute of General Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, explained at one time, the effect of healing the body with the help of blood transfusion is a long-proven fact. If purer blood enters the body, as is done, for example, during detoxification of people suffering from alcoholism, the subject objectively begins to feel more cheerful and younger. Why should the elderly have a different effect when transfusing purer blood from the younger?
The only question is how to establish the flow of such blood (or plasma) into the old body on a permanent basis? After all, while the renewed blood circulates in the body, the effect is obvious, as soon as the old one takes over again, the process of "rejuvenation" stops.
Despite this problem, doctors of some clinics abroad nevertheless seized upon the "young blood effect". They transfused blood from donors not older than 30 years old suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other senile diseases, after that they looked for noticeable changes in the brain.
The most successful commercially was the project of one of the founders of the PayPal payment system, American businessman Peter Thiel. He created the company Ambrosia, which was engaged in blood transfusions for elderly and gullible moneybags. Its leader, Jess Karmazin, announced that the procedure was successful, and rivers of people who wanted to reset a dozen years with the help of transfusions began to flow to them.
Patients were told that the blood of 16-20 year olds contains all kinds of proteins that improve the function of cells in an aging organism and encourage the organism to increase its production of these proteins on its own.
The company opened offices in 50 states of the country, inviting those who are already 30 years old and older to rejuvenate, promising them improved appearance, muscle elasticity, and good sleep. Unfortunately, the owners of the clinic forgot to add about the possible significant risks of transfusion of foreign blood and its components, which could lead to the same effect to which a similar procedure led the Soviet scientist Bogdanov more than 80 years ago.
Today, the US authorities are urging their citizens not to buy into advertisements about healing and rejuvenating blood and plasma. This can lead sufferers of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's to delay treatment with proven therapies, or those who simply want to get younger into a hospital bed.
In an official statement from the FDA, which monitors the quality of medical services, citizens are warned that the high fees for transfusion of young blood is not justified - "the effectiveness of the method has not been confirmed by scientific research." True, Karmazin announced the completion of clinical trials two years ago, but their results were never published. And the informed consent agreement, which must be signed by every patient, does not contain information about possible health risks, such as infectious, allergic and cardiovascular diseases.
By the way, now the company, which has received a lot of criticism and then closed, has changed its name and continues to work in the same style.
In the book "Eternal Youth", by the way, the French writer Frederic Beigbeder described the search for the best means of rejuvenation. In the end, the hero, who is over 50, goes to a similar clinic and after the first transfusion feels like a young man. But alas, then it turns out that the "businessmen from the blood" took the devil from whom, and the one who wants to rejuvenate dies from an incurable disease that lurked in the blood of the donor.
Another "bloody" episode was shown in the series "Silicon Valley": the hero, reminiscent of the billionaire Thiel, holds a personal blood donor nearby.
Plasma transfusion, in which proteins, nutrients, enzymes are concentrated, has been used in medicine for a long time, however, exclusively for medical reasons. For example, with liver diseases or with the same coronavirus, when the patient does not have enough of his necessary proteins or antibodies to fight the disease. Physicians perform millions of therapeutic plasma transfusions every year. But the question of how advisable is blood and plasma transfusion just like that, in order to rejuvenate, until recently remains open.
In the summer of this year, Aging magazine published an article that dispels all previous myths about the great influence of young blood on the body of the elderly. In it, a group of scientists from the University of California at Berkeley argues for a new method of rejuvenation. For him it is no longer necessary to "drink the blood of babies" - it is enough to simply dilute the patient's blood plasma with saline solution with albumin (a water-soluble protein).
Researchers have shown that for a noticeable rejuvenation, it is necessary to replace half of the blood plasma of old mice with a solution with albumin. The effect for "upgrading" the brain, liver, and muscles of animals after that is equal, and sometimes even exceeds the effect of blood transfusion from young animals.
Are similar studies being conducted in our country, are they far from clinical trials with humans? With this question, we turned to the candidate of medical sciences, doctor-transfusiologist Ilmira Gilmutdinova.
The procedure of plasmapheresis, or simply "blood purification" for therapeutic purposes, has been carried out for a long time. This is a rather old, well-known method, - says my interlocutor. - A patient arrives who, for example, has hypercholesterolemia (a factor in the development of atherosclerosis - Auth.) Or toxic hepatitis. We take whole blood, by passing it through a special apparatus (membrane or centrifugal), we separate it into components. As a result, the patient's plasma is utilized, and the cellular elements of the blood, together with blood-substituting solutions, are returned to the patient. If necessary, donor plasma is used as a blood-substituting solution, and then the procedure is called plasma exchange.
Also, replacement is possible with albumin or simply saline solution.
Experts have noticed that the plasmapheresis procedure has a positive effect on the biomarkers of aging. In particular, according to the analyzes, we see that after plasmapheresis, the patient's cholesterol can be halved, uric acid and liver enzymes return to normal in people with damaged liver.
- In the United States, as I understand it, they offer to do all the same, but precisely for the purpose of rejuvenation?
- I've heard. But the FD has banned clinical trials related to the use of donated blood in order to assess the effects of rejuvenation. I think this was done primarily for ethical reasons. It seems to me that otherwise there could be risks associated with the black market, it was necessary to stop the possible "hunt" for young donors in order to obtain this biomaterial.
- Are there any risks during plasmapheresis?
- There is always a risk. This procedure is complicated and is not done left-to-right by everyone.Anaphylactic shock, a drop in blood pressure may occur. Complications can occur in people with cardiovascular disease.