Can young blood be used to treat Alzheimer’s and other effects of aging?

Stanford biologist Tony Wyss-Coray gave a TED Talk describing “an absolutely amazing development in aging research.” His research has shown that proteins found in the blood of younger mice can dramatically reverse the effects of aging when given to older mice. The implications are huge, perhaps ushering in a new era for the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer’s and maybe — just maybe — providing a way to treat aging itself.

But the same research has also triggered some hand-wringing. It’s not hard to guess why. If using young blood proves to be a successful treatment for Alzheimer’s and other effects of aging, then its possible it will become a commodity. What would that mean for the world’s most vulnerable children? “I am petrified to think of the industry this would create,” wrote Todd L. in response to Wyss-Coray’s talk. “Think of how third-world children are treated now for inexpensive electronics and clothes. They would be treated like cattle to have their plasma harvested.”

Here are 2 factors to consider when it comes to this research:

1) It’s still very early days for this research.
2) Giving blood is nothing like donating a kidney.
3) More than likely, this technology won’t end up being about reversing or aging at all. It’ll be all about helping people heal faster.

Read more here.

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