Young blood proven good for old brain

Plasma component restores some of youth’s vibrancy to elderly mice

11:08am, May 5, 2014

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH  Young blood spurs the growth of blood vessels (green) in the brains of old mice, as shown in a 3-D reconstruction of microscope images. 

Vampires knew it all along, but now scientists have discovered that young blood can keep an old brain sharp. Plasma or blood from a young mouse — or even a single protein from plasma — rejuvenates sluggish bodies and minds in a host of ways, three new studies find.

Throughout the ages, people have searched far and wide for an elixir that replenishes the body. “Maybe they were just looking too far,” says Tony Wyss-Coray of Stanford University School of Medicine, coauthor of a May 4 study in Nature Medicine.

Young blood recharges old neurons, improving mice’s ability to learn and remember things, Wyss-Coray and colleagues found. Two other papers, appearing May 4 in Science, identified a particular ingredient in young blood that improves both brain and muscles. 

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