It’s been the premise of countless bad horror movies and urban legends: A creepy old person, or a rich, insane countess, bathes in the blood of the young to stay beautiful. But, strangely, there is some possible medical truth to it. Back in 2012, mouse research found that putting some of the blood from young mice into older mice reversed cognitive decline. Human research, though, has been rare for obvious reasons, but never underestimate the desire of a Silicon Valley billionaire to stop aging.
Peter Thiel is the focus of an article about the technique, called parabiosis. Specifically, it’s about a clinical trial being run by a small Silicon Valley medical firm where, for eight thousand bucks, you can have the blood of the young transfused into your veins to see what happens. Despite how that sounds, parabiosis is a legit medical technique being studied by major medical universities. Thiel, though, took it a step further and had the executive he pays to oversee his health personally call Ambrosia about their study. It’s not yet clear if he’s a study participant.
It’s rumored that parabiosis, among other experimental medical techniques, is widely performed among tech elites, but any doctor would caution against too much optimism. Even those researching it simply don’t quite grasp what the mechanism is. It appears that there are proteins that help reverse aging and stimulate the body to produce more of those proteins, but it’s not entirely clear why the young have these proteins and the older among us don’t, or what these proteins do exactly. There’s also the question of where you’d get that much blood in the first place, considering the urgent need for blood for actual medical emergencies.
In reality, this technique is just a door to determining which proteins are involved, and much more elaborate studies will need to be done to determine what these proteins do. While it’s hard to fault anyone who doesn’t want to wait, there’s a reason medical science isn’t prone to rushing all in without testing a technique. Sometimes we don’t learn the consequences until it’s too late.