Testing reveals transfusing young blood into Alzheimer's patients does not reverse disease

November 3, 2017 by Bob Yirka report
Credit: public domain

(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with a startup company called Alkahest will be giving a presentation at this year's Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease Conference detailing results of testing blood transfusions on elderly Alzheimer's patients. They are expected to claim that their testing revealed both null and positive results.

Representatives for Alkahest have been very vocal about their research efforts—the goal of the company is to find out if transfusing blood from young people into Alzheimer's patients will slow, stop or even reverse the symptoms of the disease.

The initiative by Alkahest is part of a broader program by and others less qualified to determine if transfusing the blood of young, healthy people into older people, or people who are sick, offers any benefits. The whole grand experiment got its start a century and a half ago, when scientists sutured a young mouse to an old mouse to see if the old mouse would become younger. While that early research did report some benefits for the older mouse, the technique was not pursued for another hundred years. In more recent times, researchers have tried repeating the same experiments, while others have tried infusing blood and some have tried infusing just plasma. Such experiments have met thus far with mixed results, though most agree that young blood can rejuvenate body parts in some .

In this new experiment, the researchers found 16 people with Alzheimer's disease who were willing to participate in the experimental program. Some were given young , while others were given a placebo. After a certain amount of time, the patients were switched so that all could receive the at some point in the experiment.

The researchers report that none of the volunteers did any better on cognitive tests taken during or after the conclusion of the transfusions. But, they note, that tests given to the people who took care of the patients revealed that virtually all of the volunteers did better at real life tasks, like getting dressed and helping with shopping. Others not involved with the study have suggested that such changes in ability are most likely due to an increase in attention by their caretakers, rather than from any benefit of the transfusions.

Explore further: Aging mice given blood plasma from young humans regain youthful attributes

More information: The PLasma for Alzheimer SymptoM Amelioration (PLASMA) Study (PLASMA), clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02256306

Related Stories

Aging mice given blood plasma from young humans regain youthful attributes

November 17, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers working at a company called Alkahest has reported at this year's Society for Neuroscience annual meeting that injections of blood plasma from young human beings caused aging mice to ...

Research group finds blood transfusions from young mice to old improves brain function

October 19, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—A research team from Stanford University has found that injecting the blood of young mice into older mice can cause new neural development and improved memory. Team lead Saul Villeda presented the groups' ...

Positive results from Alzheimer's drug in Phase 1 clinical trial extension

November 3, 2017
The pharmaceutical company Biogen has today announced the results of an extended phase 1b clinical trial of the potential Alzheimer's disease drug, aducanumab. Results from the extended early stage trial, were announced today ...

Is older blood OK to use in a transfusion?

September 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Using older red blood cells to give transfusions to critically ill patients doesn't appear to affect their risk of dying, Australian researchers report.

Does improving cardiovascular health reduce risk of dementia?

September 12, 2017
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are recruiting volunteers for a national study that is exploring whether strategies to improve cardiovascular health also reduce the risk of dementia in ...

Understanding Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome

July 26, 2017
People who have Down syndrome may develop Alzheimer's disease at a younger age than people without Down syndrome. Recently, however, research showed that some people with Down syndrome might not develop dementia at all. Doctors ...

Recommended for you

Researchers reveal new details on aged brain, Alzheimer's and dementia

November 21, 2017
In a comprehensive analysis of samples from 107 aged human brains, researchers at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, UW Medicine and Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute have discovered details that ...

Dementia study sheds light on how damage spreads through brain

November 20, 2017
Insights into how a key chemical disrupts brain cells in a common type of dementia have been revealed by scientists.

Researchers describe new biology of Alzheimer's disease

November 20, 2017
In a new study, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) describe a unique model for the biology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) which may lead to an entirely novel approach for treating the disease. The findings ...

Study shows video games could cut dementia risk in seniors

November 16, 2017
Could playing video games help keep the brain agile as we age?

New player in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis identified

November 14, 2017
Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have shown that a protein called membralin is critical for keeping Alzheimer's disease pathology in check. The study, published in Nature Communications, ...

Biomarker may predict early Alzheimer's disease

November 10, 2017
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have identified a peptide that could lead to the early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The discovery, published in Nature Communications, may ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dogbert
not rated yet Nov 03, 2017
These were not given whole blood. They were given plasma. The results are therefore not indicative of what would happen if the test were of whole blood.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.