"...in fifty years, do you believe that people will be recognizably human?"
- Greg Bear
||New Blood For Old
||Replacing the blood plasma of older people with material from younger people.
|"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. Old age, so they tell me, is primarily a matter of the progressive accumulation of the waste poisons of metabolism. The blood is supposed to carry them away, but presently the blood gets so clogged with the poisons that the scavenging process doesn't take place properly. Is that right, Doctor Hardy?'
"That's an odd way of putting it, but-"
"I told you I was no biotechnician."
"-essentially correct. It's a matter of diffusion pressure deficit-the d.p.d. on the blood side of a cell wall must be such as to maintain a fairly sharp gradient or there will occur progressive autointoxication of the individual cells. But I must say that I feel somewhat disappointed, Miles Rodney. The basic idea of holding off death by insuring proper scavenging of waste products is not new-I have a bit of chicken heart which has been alive for two and one half centuries through equivalent techniques. As to the use of young blood-yes, that will work. I've kept experimental animals alive by such blood donations to about twice their normal span-" He stopped and looked troubled.
"Yes, Doctor Hardy?"
Hardy chewed his lip. "I gave up that line of research. I found it necessary to have several young donors in order to keep one beneficiary from growing any older. There was a small, but measurable, unfavorable effect on each of the donors. Racially it was self-defeating; there would never be enough donors to go around. Am I to understand, sir that this method is thereby limited to a small, select part of the population?"
"Oh, no! I did not make myself clear, Master Hardy. There are no donors."
"New blood, enough for everybody, grown outside the body-the Public Health and Longevity Service can provide any amount of it, any type."
|From Methuselah's Children,
by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1941
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