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Studies showed: the sewing together of two differently aged mice has rejuvenating effects on the body of the older mouse. Some companies are already offering blood transfusions.

About 150 years ago the French physiologist Paul Bert made an amazing discovery: the scientist removed two strips of skin from two rats and then sewed the animals together at that location.

The rats remained united in this arrangement for several months – to the advantage of the older animal, as its bone density improved.

After the surgical procedure, the connected animals behave normally and they can be successfully separated again later.

The question of how exactly “young blood” works on the older body is still unclear.

Young blood can repair damaged spinal cord tissue or support the formation of new neurons in the brain and the olfactory system, thickened heart muscles can be induced to regress. In April this year Tony Wyss-Coray from the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that the memory and learning ability of old mice improves through human umbilical cord plasma.

This involved the research team injecting the plasma every four days over two weeks.

However, if the older mouse was bound to a rodent of the same age the injury healed much worse – in a way that would be normal with non-parabiotic older animals.

From this time on many different publications appeared on the subject.

After a short time the blood vessels of the two rodents had fused. By injecting fluids into the veins of one of the animals, Bert was able to show that the blood of the one rat also flowed through the veins of the other one.

He received the Paris Academy of Sciences Prize two years later for his work.

By the end of the seventies interest in parabiotics had diminished.

Nowadays however the topic is back in the media as part of ageing research.

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