Strictly speaking, parabiosis should require linking the circulatory systems of two animals together. But, unlike in the early days, scientists no longer have to literally sew two circulatory systems together. Researchers now have the technology available to simply isolate specific proteins and plasma from the blood of young donors and inject it into older patients desperate to produce what they claim are potential youth-enhancing and disease preventative benefits of the treatment.
Of course, this type of highly specialized treatment does not come cheap. The Mercury News recently reported that Ambrosia – a company started by Jesse Karmazin, a Stanford Medical School graduate who never got around to getting his license to practice medicine – is selling “young blood” for an eye-popping $8,000 a liter. And the rich and famous are jumping at the opportunity to slow down the hands of time. The treatment is now available in five cities, including San Francisco.
And unlike the dark history of feeding on children's blood -- which required kidnapping, harvesting and then murdering children as part of the global "blood market" trade -- today's wealthy no longer have to murder young children to get their blood supply.
Within one week of launching the company’s website in September, over 100 potential clients expressed an interest in the procedure, including Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and Palantir. Thiel has shown an interest in various medical treatments that offer the tantalizing promise of a longer life, and has stated, regarding death, “I prefer to fight it.”
While it is impossible to replace an older person’s blood completely with that of a younger donor, there is some scientific evidence that transfusions of young blood can rejuvenate tissue and repair some damaged cells.
By joining the circulatory system of an old mouse to that of a young mouse, scientists have produced some remarkable results. In the heart, brain, muscles and almost every other tissue examined, the blood of young mice seems to bring new life to aging organs, making old mice stronger, smarter and healthier. It even makes their fur shinier.
Karmazin claims that an in-house Ambrosia study found that treatments led to a 20 percent reduction in levels of two proteins, one of which has been linked to cancer and the other to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
But is this a harmless procedure? Are there any potential risks for the recipients of this “young blood?” And what about the donors themselves? What of the potential abuse of children that could easily develop when unscrupulous black-market providers start finding ways to find young blood for rich, greedy recipients – recipients who may be more than willing to turn a blind eye to how the blood was obtained?
If the blood harvesting industry becomes lucrative and powerful, wouldn't there be a strong profit incentive to raise cloned children in "blood farms" who exist solely for the purpose of profiting blood profits to the corporations that dominate the industry?
In addition to the obvious potential for massive exploitation of vulnerable children – for example, street children being coerced to “donate” blood or children being kidnapped for the blood in their veins – there is potential danger to the recipients, as well. (Related: Human medical experimentation on children: The exploitation of poor children by Big Pharma.)
University of California, Berkeley, researchers Michael and Irina Conboy, who previously published research on parabiosis in mice, have said that performing the procedure on humans is "dangerous."
Irina Conboy told Business Insider, “They quite likely could inflict bodily harm. It is well known in the medical community — and this is also the reason we don't do transfusions frequently — that in 50% of patients there are very bad side effects. You are being infused with somebody else's blood and it doesn't match. That unleashes a strong immune reaction."
So, old people trying to – literally – suck the life out of healthy young people is a bad idea all around. Older people would do far better to eat well, remain active and generally pursue a healthy lifestyle. This would allow them to live long, healthy lives without harming themselves or vulnerable children.
Find more news on medical extremism at MedicalExtremism.com.