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Will the Secret to Longer Life be Soylent Red?

If someone hasn’t said it before, I’ll be the first: Those who do not learn from science fiction movies are condemned to eventually live in one.

Researchers at two universities published nearly-simultaneous independent papers in Nature Medicine and Science on experiments where older mice were given blood from younger mice. Both found that the older mice showed improvements in mental and physical abilities which could result in better and longer lives, at least in mice.

At the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Saul Villeda used mice whose ages in mouse years were approximately 20 and 60 in human years. His team injected one group of older mice with blood either from younger mice or from other older rodents. Those getting the young blood performed better in mazes and on learning and memorization tests.

While Villeda admits he doesn’t know what’s in the younger blood that could cause these results, a team at Harvard may have the answer. In similar experiments, researchers there found that older mice injected with young blood had stronger grips and more endurance on treadmills. They also noticed that the treated mice had more blood vessels and flow in their brains. They isolated a protein called GDF11 found in higher concentrations in young mouse blood. When injected with just GDF11, the older mice showed the same improvements in strength and blood circulation.

Mice with young blood injections had stronger grips.

Mice with young blood injections had stronger grips.

Amy Wagers, author of the papers on the Harvard study, says an identical GDF11 is also in human blood at levels that decrease with age. If the results are the same in human tests, it could be a possible treatment for age-related physical and mental decline.

Sounds promising and easy for do-it-yourselfers, doesn’t it? Pay heed to Saul Villeda.

Don’t try this at home.

Before making a midnight raid at a local blood bank, watch “Soylent Green” and “Flowers for Algernon” and remember … Millennials already have enough reasons to hate Baby Boomers.

Soylent Red is from young people ... young people!

Soylent Red is from young people … young people!

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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