Young Blood Found To Revive Aging Muscles

In a Stanford University study, older mice were attached to younger ones in such a way that the two mice shared a single blood supply. Researchers induced muscle damage in the older mice only. The old muscles healed quickly, as they do in younger mice. In contrast, old mice connected to other old mice healed much more slowly.

Dr. Thomas Rando and his group have been studying specialized cells called satellite cells, which are the stem cells in muscles. They are normally dormant but work in younger mice to repair muscle tissue. The scientists are testing the idea that the ability of a given body system to repair itself is more a function of the regenerative cell's environment - not just a function of the regenerative cell's properties.

In his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children, Robert Heinlein created a situation in which the world government was forced to expend every possible resource to find a solution to the problem of aging. The solution?

"... It's not one process, but several-one basic process and several dozen others, some of them purely cosmetic, especially for women. Nor is the basic process truly a rejuvenation process. You can arrest the progress of old age, but you can't reverse it to any significant degree-you can't turn a senile old man into a boy."

"Yes, yes," agreed Hardy. "Naturally-but what is the basic process?"

"It consists largely in replacing the entire blood tissue in an old person with new, young blood..."

Read more about this new research here. Thanks to Martin, an alert reader who pointed out this story (with page reference for the quote, no less!).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/2/2005)

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