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Old blood carries risks for brain

New transfusion process between young, old mice helps pinpoint effects

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11:00am, November 22, 2016
mouse hippocampus

FADING YOUTH  Young blood doesn’t kick-start nerve cell division (red cells, left image) in the hippocampus of an old mouse (second from right). And factors in old blood interfere with the process in the brain of a young mouse (second from left).

Harmful factors circulating in old blood may be partly responsible for the mental decline that can come with age, a small study in mice suggests. 

Irina Conboy of the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues devised a new way to mingle blood in two mice that didn’t involve stitching their bodies together, as in previous experiments (SN: 5/31/14, p. 8). Instead, researchers used a microfluidic device to shuttle blood, a process that precisely controlled the timing and amount of blood transferred between the mice. The method, reported online November 22 in Nature Communications, allows more precise tests of blood’s influence on aging, the researchers believe.

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