July 18, 2019

Infusions of "Young Blood" Will Not Make You Young

“The US Food and Drug Administration is officially warning consumers that buying young blood infusions to improve their health is not a good idea. It is, in fact, a very bad idea because there is no clinical evidence that the infusions do anything, and the procedure could be dangerous.

“Simply put, we’re concerned that some patients are being preyed upon by unscrupulous actors touting treatments of plasma from young donors as cures and remedies,” write FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the warning. “Such treatments have no proven clinical benefits for the uses for which these clinics are advertising them and are potentially harmful.”

The idea that infusions of young blood could slow aging has been around since the early 2000s, when studies in mice showed promising results. (Notably, the young and old mice weren’t just sharing blood; they were attached and actually shared organs, too.) The concept really gained traction a few years ago, thanks in part to a rumor that venture capitalist Peter Thiel was interested in the transfusions. As other sites, including Bloomberg have noted, despite the outlandish nature of the claim, jokes about vampirism, and a spoof on the show Silicon Valley, the idea has not gone away and young blood clinics do exist. Notably, a startup called Ambrosia Medical promised transfusions for $8,000 a liter. “It works,” Ambrosia founder Jesse Karmazin told a Mic reporter. “It reverses aging.””

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