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Young Blood

Daniel Larson, '18, Staff Writer

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Humans have always been obsessed with the idea of immortality. Ambrosia, in Greek mythology, would grant good health to the gods. One new startup—who also goes by the name Ambrosia—wishes to provide the same service to morals. For the steep price of $8,000, founder Jesse Karmazin will give you a transfusion of 2 liters of plasma from a donor between the ages of 16 to 25. Yep, you read that right. Ambrosia aims to pump veins of rich elders with enough blood to fill two standard nalgene bottles. Although currently signing willing people up for trials, the company hasn’t exactly backed up their rejuvenation claims with hard science.

Blood transfusions are a common medical practice, though they are generally saved for life-threatening circumstances such as an auto accident or severe wound. But the service Ambrosia provides is a completely foreign game: using transfusions to ‘kickstart’ an aging body into youth. One paper in Cell, which the company’s ideology is based on, concluded that a specific component of the plasma resulted in modest muscle improvements in mice. However, other scientists were unable to replicate the tests, and the method of transfusion used in tests is very different from Ambrosia’s. UC Berkeley bioengineering processor Irina Conboy ran studies on mice in a procedure similar to the new startup’s and found that the correlation between minor improvements and the exchange of blood was poor. She concluded that benefit might just stem from the fact that they diluted the older mouse’s blood, rather than the youthful blood being the key to good health.

Ambrosia founder Karmazin claims that the procedure, which has already been completed on over 80 participants, has immediate benefits. Most of these claims are about improved appearance, more youthful feel, and stronger focus—all common with the placebo effect and difficult to substantiate with data. So, for now scientists aren’t sure if plasma transfusions from young donors actually de-age participants. But hey, it would be cool if someone could fend off death by feeding on the blood of the moral young, just like a vampire.

The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.
Young Blood