Reverse ageing by pumping yourself full of young people’s blood for $8,000
No, Ambrosia isn’t some strange satanic cult, it’s the brainchild of 32-year-old Jesse Karmazin, who believes that pumping your veins full of plasma from the blood of teenagers and young adults is the key to a longer, healthier life. Karmazin’s company will, for just $8,000, perform a one-time transfusion of a two-litre bagful of plasma taken from the blood of young people.
The more I say “the blood of young people”, the more disturbing it becomes to write, just FYI. Still, vampiric notions aside, Karmazin claims that within the space of a month participants “see improvements”. Many scientists don’t agree with his methods, however, stating that the pay-to-participate model (which could see Karmazin generate $4.8 million from 600 participants) as little more than a scam.
Karmazin’s blood-transfusion idea may not be complete nonsense, though, since it’s based on some intriguing, albeit inconclusive, scientific research. For the past decade or so, researchers have looked into the potential benefits of blood – chiefly young blood running through the veins of older bodies. In one study, mice shared blood between their bodies in a procedure called parabiosis, and researchers noticed that the effects of ageing could be reversed or accelerated when the blood of young mice was introduced into the systems of older mice.
Other researchers have been looking into the potential medical benefits of blood transfusions to help cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s or even combat the effects of acute strokes. However, many scientists have claimed that they haven’t been able to replicate the findings from successful trials – leading to inconclusive investigations. Also, many of the scientific trials of transfusions required regular and sustained transfusions, rather than the single treatment Ambrosia is presenting.
Karmazin isn’t phased, though. Speaking to MIT Technology Review, he said: “I think the animal retrospective data is compelling, and I want this treatment to be available to the people.” Somewhat unnervingly, Karmazin holds no licence to practice medicine – although he does hold an MD – and therefore treatment at Ambrosia falls to physician David C Wright.
Wright already runs a private intravenous-therapy centre in Monterey, offering up “alternative” IV infusions to his patients. In January 2015, Wright was disciplined by the California Medical Board for putting a patient in hospital after administering antibiotic infusions to a patient that didn’t need it.
Ambrosia says it will enrol almost anyone over the age of 35 and, since people are paying $8,000 a pop, it won’t be administering placebos to anyone involved – not the best way to perform a study. Still, hokey science or not, many people are so scared of ageing that they’re willing to put themselves through a risky trial in the name of preservation. Let’s just hope this Ambrosia really is the nectar of the gods – rather than just some lukewarm custard.