Here’s a headline that made me look twice: “Human blood may offer a fresh approach for dementia treatment.”
Now, I never thought in a million years that human blood, of all things, might play a role in tackling one of the greatest health threats of our time…
Doctors have recently reported memory improvements in Alzheimer’s patients who have received blood transfusions. The subsequent brain boosts reportedly last for days following the procedure.
Using this anecdotal evidence as a springboard for their study, researchers decided to infuse old mice with the umbilical plasma of young mice. Previous experiments have shown that this strategy works to rejuvenate immune-compromised mice.
Incredibly, the researchers found similar cognitive improvements in the old mice to those doctors have reported in human patients who received blood transfusions. These improvements didn’t simply last days. They lasted a full three months post-infusion.
Behavioural changes in the infused mice were consistent with what you would see following the generation of new neurons. If this hypothesis can be proven accurate it would mean that umbilical plasma transfusions will enable the brain to reverse the neuron loss linked to Alzheimer’s disease — leading, of course, to better brain function.
The reason why this latest discovery is quite an attention-grabber is because the sad fact is that that there is very little hope available for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
While the results of this new mouse study are still too early to really call them a dementia “breakthrough”, they are incredibly encouraging… so much so that a study featuring actual human Alzheimer’s patients should be rolling out soon.
But for now, we still have a long way to go. However, if preliminary results are as promising as they were in the mouse study, it could be a game changer in the way we treat a whole host of diseases. And not just neurodegenerative ones, like Parkinson’s and dementia.
If umbilical plasma infusions are able to regenerate other organs, like the liver and muscle, in humans, the possibilities could be endless.
I realise this may sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel. But luckily for us all, there are real facts on the table here.
And considering how few options there are for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that this approach is at least worth a try.
So stay tuned, because I will definitely be keeping an eye on this story.
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Umbilical cord blood from babies could help bring back memory for dementia patients, published online, telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/04/19/umbilical-cord-blood-babies-could-help-bring-back-memory-dementia/