When the Wall Street Journal reported that giving the blood of young mice to old mice has a rejuvenating effect. The old mice, according to a study from Stanford University and the University of California, improved memory and the ability to learn. Similarly, a Harvard University study reports giving old mice certain proteins improved brain and exercise capabilities and reversed “the effects of aging on the heart.”
Since it seems unlikely researchers are out to improve the lives of geriatric rodents, one must conclude, and WSJ briefly touches on this, scientists hope one day to test this theory on humans.
A close friend sent this news report around via email. One respondent asked, if you could be a vampire, would you? Unsurprisingly, my friend said he has thought about this before. His answer: “A definite maybe.”
That got us talking about what it takes to be a vampire. My concern was the bloody mess of killing people—that and the whole morality of the matter. Yet my friend maintains his particular undeadness would not involve murder—fraud maybe, but not murder. Unlike those discipline-challenged creatures of the night seeking weak and unwitting victims, usually women, he theorizes he would be very much an Anne Rice-like incarnation. In other words, he would maintain his human character traits, those of a non-murderous misanthrope who would go about collecting remarkable antiques and, knowing him, make wise investments. His wealth, he speculates, would sustain his ability to buy donated blood. Awkwardly at 213 years old, he would also have trouble getting a passport to travel the world to gather these fabulous treasures, hence the fraud.
Well, we know how these sorts of things just brew all kinds of questions in my mind. For instance, if the traits that would change for my friend in his Anne Rice-created state of immortality were his lack of ability to die, thirst for erythrocytes, lack of reflection and shadow, intolerance to sunlight, shape-shifting abilities, increased strength, and his inability to eat at the Bucharest Grill (read: he must avoid garlic), then what character-traits might change if an old woman received blood transfusions or targeted protein injections from the young in an effort to reverse the effects of aging? Would she be the same old gal who loves French cuisine and British literature? Or would she garner a taste for something younger, racier?
If you lost mobility and suffered from increasing bouts of memory loss and suddenly found yourself able to run a few laps without coughing up a lung or relocated the wallet you misplaced two years ago, then you certainly are not going to be the same person. You are going to change. Markedly? Good question. For the better? Let’s hope so.
Have you read the “Twenty Thirty: The Real Story of What Happens to America” by Albert Brooks (the actor starred in “Broadcast News,” my favorite “Defending Your Life,” and most recently “Drive”)? The novel is a frightening tale of a time in the not-so-distant future when the young hate the old and show it in increasingly caustic, cruel ways. Why? Because the old, they argue, bleed the world’s resources dry by not dying. The novel becomes more fear provoking as science proves itself a formidable storyteller.
Am I suggesting researchers sit in their labs and find out how to make scratch-and-sniff television a reality rather than looking for cures to the great mind suck Alzheimer’s disease or the blood-curdling numbers of cancers and autoimmune diseases? Not at all, I’m just saying “Wow.”
© Leslie Green and Wildemere Publishing LLC .