Illustration by Mark Allen Miller
Imagine an old lab mouse: bad hair, bad spin in the labyrinth, lazing around. Now imagine that the mouse surgically joined another more youthful one. . . And then seeing it, in a few weeks, it starts to be younger. When the scientists did this, "they found that the old mouse showed fewer diseases of aging, such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's," says Jesse Karmazin, M.D.
For Dr. Karmazin, the old mouse is you. This 33-year-old physician trained at Stanford has no plans to sew on a freshman from college. But he's betting, according to recent research, that humans experience the same benefit of doubling the age of a
Dosage of young blood.
Dr. Karmazin admits that it sounds totally creepy
In 2016, Dr. Karmazin founded Ambrosia, a company that will infuse one or two liters of plasma between 16 and 25 years. For up to $ 12,000. So far, he says, many of his 150 patients report feeling and performing better with only one treatment a year. He admits that it sounds totally creepy, although transfusions, of course, are not a new science. "We are using them for a different purpose."
The experiments on the "parabiosis" of the mouse, the anatomical union of two individuals, go back to 1864; The findings of the young mouse / old mouse were reported in the 1950s. But the consultations stalled until 2002, when the Stanford scientists were in a routine meeting, cheating about getting old and why the components of their body age in unison instead of separately. Someone hypothesized: his circulation reaches everything in his body, so perhaps his blood contains chemicals that make him grow old.
Does your blood contain chemicals that make you age?
Soon they were sewing mice together to find out. Their study, published in Nature, found that older mice exhibited an improved production of progenitor cells (organ repairrs that decrease with age), as well as better brain, muscle and liver function. They even looked younger. The theory: young blood dilutes the proinflammatory in old blood that can prevent you from manufacturing progenitor cells.
The National Institutes of Health believe that the method shows some promise in the decoding of human aging. He founded more than four times more studies of parabiosis in 2017 than in 2010, but positive results have been seen only in mice, and some scientists believe that Dr. Karmazin is distributing blood prematurely, because what is in his veins may be just one part of the story.
The NIH funded four times more studies of parabiosis in 2017 than in 2010
"Connected mice do not just share blood," says Michael Conboy, Ph.D., who co-authored the Nature study. "They share organ systems; the younger mouse can absorb and transfer more nutrients from food; and in our study, the young man was even driving the old man, giving him more exercise. " Then, maybe the magic is in the blood, maybe not.
Or maybe there is no magic at all. The annals of medicine are full of exaggerated treatments that work in mice but not in men. In fact, the first plasma transfusion trial in humans, conducted at Stanford and funded by another young blood venture, Alkahest, did not kill anyone (transfusions have a rare risk of lethal complications) but found no antiaging cerebral effects
That's why Dr. Karmazin conducted a follow-up study. The data, from 81 patients who funded their own treatments, reveal an improvement in markers for Alzheimer's, inflammation and heart disease, says Dr. Karmazin. But it will not be published until 2019 at the earliest. Ambrosia is moving forward and has just updated her website so she can schedule treatments in six cities (Phoenix, LA, San Francisco, Tampa, Omaha and Houston) and pay through PayPal.
But why not save your big 12 and wait until more studies come out? Meanwhile, focus on a handful of much cheaper strategies to move the longevity dial:
Stand in line to carry
New research on diet has found that the Indian spice turmeric may be one of the most potent anti-inflammatory drugs in the world. Ask for curry, or use the spice on everything: eggs, vegetables, rice.
Keep the cardio
In one study, men who ran four sets of high-intensity intervals of four minutes (three times a week) improved the markers of inflammation more than men who did strength sessions of 40 to 65 minutes.
Mix mind and body
Under stress, a protein is produced that increases inflammation. But mind and body practices such as meditation, tai chi and yoga can prevent that, according to a study in Frontiers of Immunology.
Michael Easter is a health and fitness writer and visiting professor at UNLV.