Researchers discovered that plasma from cord blood contains proteins that improve learning and memory skills by enhancing the activity of the hippocampus. The protein could also mitigate the effects of Alzheimer’s
Dom Galeon, Futurism
PLASMA OF YOUTH
Researchers from Stanford University in California may have stumbled upon a potential elixir of youth. The team, led by Joseph Castellano, found that blood from babies’ blood contains anti-aging and memory-enhancing potential. While it might sound like the premise of a horror movie, there’s no need to worry: no infants were harmed in the research, as the blood was collected from their umbilical cords.
The rejuvenating effects of infants’ blood is the subject of a study the researchers published in the journal Nature. Similar to a previous study linking memory and cognitive enhancing effects to teenager’s blood, Castellano and his team believe that umbilical blood may have the ability to rejuvenate memory.
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Do you feel like your brain is getting sluggish with age? A protein found in umbilical cord blood may help restore its youthful vigor.
Researchers have previously found that blood from human teenagers can rejuvenate memory and cognition in elderly mice, probably due to factors present in the plasma – the liquid portion of the blood. Now, blood harvested from babies’ umbilical cords has been found to have even stronger anti-ageing effects.
Joseph Castellano at Stanford University in California and his colleagues discovered this by collecting blood from people at three different life stages – babies, young people around the age of 22, and older people around the age of 66 – and injecting the plasma component into mice that were the equivalent of around 50 years old in human years.
The most dramatic effects occurred when these mice received babies’ cord plasma. They became faster learners and were better at remembering their way through a maze. This corresponded with enhanced activity in their hippocampi – the brain regions responsible for learning and memory.
Mice that received young people’s plasma also had modest improvements in hippocampus function, but those that received plasma from older adults showed no such improvement. This suggests that human plasma gradually loses its rejuvenating potential with age.
Castellano’s team found that umbilical cord plasma contains more of a protein called TIMP2, and levels in the blood decline with age – a hint that this protein may be responsible for young blood’s rejuvenating properties.
Sure enough, injecting old mice with TIMP2 alone boosted their hippocampus activity and improved their maze-navigation. It also restored their ability to make a nest – a skill that older mice lose.
Moreover, old mice that were treated with cord plasma that had been stripped of TIMP2 showed no cognitive improvement, confirming that the protein is responsible for the strong anti-ageing effect.
The mechanism by which TIMP2 improves cognition is still unclear, but it is known to inhibit a group of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases, some of which are involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The protein may have potential as a treatment for age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Using TIMP2 as a treatment would be better than using cord plasma itself because it can be synthesised in a lab, avoiding the need for donor supplies, says Castellano.
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Read the original article where the study is published HERE …