Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine have conducted a test which shows that blood from young mice can recharge the brains of old mice and restore certain mental capabilities. The research was conducted into two parts, a complex experiment and a simple blood transfusion.
Researchers for the first experiment used a pair of mice who had their circulatory system conjoined surgically. Such a pair is known as parabiotic pair where the mice share the same pool of blood. Scientists had two parabiotic pairs, one comprising an old mouse and young mouse while the other comprising two old mice. In both these pairs, the scientists concentrated on hippocampus, a region that is the memory forming structure in the brain. The more experienced a person is with a certain activity, the bigger the hippocampus. However, the ability of hippocampus deteriorates with age and in case of dementias such as Alzheimer’s, the deterioration is accelerated.
It was noticed that due to the sharing of same blood, the young–old pair showed signs in which, the older mouse benefitted from the young one, while the old–old pair showed no signs of improvement. For the second test, researchers injected an older mouse with plasma (blood free of cells) from a young mouse. It demonstrated that the mouse with an infusion performed better at memory–oriented tasks. Scientists believe it could help in restoring some capabilities that the older brain loses and leads to new therapeutic approaches in treating dementias.