“Think about it. From vampirism to Catholicism, whether literally or symbolically, the reward for eating flesh is eternal life.” – The X Files
The blood is fake, as is the snow . . .
Blood. There’s a lot of it coursing through The Boy’s veins . . .
Last August, I read an article that I found fascinating. Eggheads performed a study in 2014 that showed when old mice were injected with the blood plasma from young mice that their ability to learn increased, and their memory increased as well. I’m not sure if they gave the mice the verbal section of the SAT to test them (or, if they took expensive mouse SAT prep courses), but I’m pretty sure that they didn’t give the mice the essay section of the SAT, since all the mice would have had to write about would be how these giant humans keep sticking them with needles. Oh, and the mice could write about Game of Thrones. Mice love Game of Thrones.
It turns out that Peter Thiel, multi-billionaire tech investor, is very interested in the implications of those needle-shy mice. Thiel has been aggressively working on life extension techniques and technology. This makes sense, since if you’re a multi-billionaire, your checklist for must-haves includes:
- Island Lair
- Ownership of a Small South American Country
- Asian Manservant
- Low-Yield Nuclear Arsenal
- Eternal Life
I kid. Mr. Thiel appears to be six degrees of awesome:
- He’s a multi-billionaire, but also
- Chess Life Master
- Co-Founder of Pay Pal
- Bought 10% of Facebook for $500,000
- Has a TV Character Based on Him
He also wants you to live forever, and is funding research to extend life for everybody. This would change the math of retirement/Social Security, but would also allow people enough life to explore different professions, to change the dynamic of families by providing a coherent story that spanned hundreds of years, or to play endless video games and eat Nachos Bellgrande® forever.
Thiel looks to an optimistic future where people live and contribute to the fullest (though I suspect there’ll be a LOT of 800 year old stoners on basement couches).That where parabiosis comes in.
- Para from Latin, meaning “Two,”
- Bio from the Ancient Greek for “Story” and
- Sis meaning “Sister,”
- So, literally two stories about your sister – and they aren’t flattering.
Parabiosis as term initially described (and I am not making this up) experiments where two critters of the same species were surgically joined, especially their circulatory systems. Besides being a bad B-movie plot, this practice was largely forgotten for over 70 years. New experimenters, encouraged by Christopher Lee playing Dracula, picked the experiments up again. Someone had the bright idea to stop stitching mice together, and just inject them. The mice were very pleased, since now they could avoid the whole creepy “sewing two animals together thing” and just have their blood transferred back and forth via needle. That takes all the fun out of it, but it did induce the mice to stop the strike.
Anyhow, the results showed that injecting old mice with “young” mouse blood plasma had the significant positive health impacts mentioned previously, making them “younger.” Injecting young mice with “old” mouse plasma made them, in many measurable ways, “older” – they formed fewer brain cells, and tended to hike their pants up higher and reminisce about back in the day when they were baby mice.
Some studies have even been done with humans, and there appears to be significant benefits to us, as well.
Given that it looks like the changes might be real, and might be long lasting, there is some pretty significant interest in parabiosis as a starter longevity treatment.
It’s not like we have a shortage of young people who have rich, sweet plasma that you could milk, er, drain, er, farm, er, whatever. Is harvest politically correct? And a fit 18 year old can generate 800ML (more than a wine bottle’s worth) of plasma a week safely. Unlike kidneys, which have to be bought using blackmail or a cheap hotel room and a bathtub filled with ice, it’s totally legal in most places to BUY plasma from the donors – you don’t have to put on a cape or sneak into their room in the dark with fangs. You can buy it for $40 or $50.
This treatment is totally not a standard FDA/AMA approved treatment. There is, however, a completely legal way to get a treatment with the plasma, if you have $8,000. Ambrosia LLC (LINK) is running a trial on the therapy, complete with an extensive (and expensive) panel of blood work to test the before condition and the after impacts of the therapy. There are even rumors that several Silicon Valley tech titans have their own young and healthy donors on retainer (and, yes, this is legal – if you have $200,000 or so, you could probably wrangle this as well).
And, you might well ask – have you, John Wilder, considered doing this? Certainly! $8000 (plus travel to and from) is a bit pricey, and I thought of putting in a GoFundMe or Kickstarter for a “Blogger Looking For Blood” might even get me close to the asking price. I could even make the argument it’s tax deductible, since I’m doing it for you, dear readers.
I even have my own prospective donor, The Boy, who is so healthy and strapping that he exudes wellness through his pores, along with sweat and teenage boy stink.
I wonder if there’s a BYOB (Bring Your Own Blood) discount?