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Young blood to be used in ultimate rejuvenation trial

rejuvenation young blood transfusions

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#1 forever freedom

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 06:55 PM


http://www.newscient...ue#.U_Y_IvnxpMJ

 

 

In California, people with Alzheimer’s will be given transfusions of young blood to see if improves their cognition – there's good reason to hope it might

IT SOUNDS like the dark plot of a vampire movie. In October, people with Alzheimer's disease will be injected with the blood of young people in the hope that it will reverse some of the damage caused by the condition.

The scientists behind the experiment have evidence on their side. Work in animals has shown that a transfusion of young mouse blood can improve cognition and the health of several organs in older mice. It could even make those animals look younger. The ramifications for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries could be huge if the same thing happens in people.

Disregarding vampire legends, the idea of refreshing old blood with new harks back to the 1950s, when Clive McCay of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, stitched together the circulatory systems of an old and young mouse – a technique called heterochronic parabiosis. He found that the cartilage of the old mice soon appeared younger than would be expected.

It wasn't until recently, however, that the mechanisms behind this experiment were more clearly understood. In 2005, Thomas Rando at Stanford University in California and his team found that young blood returned the liver and skeletal stem cells of old mice to a more youthful state during heterochronic parabiosis. The old mice were also able to repair injured muscles as well as young mice (Nature, doi.org/d4fkt5).

Spooky things seemed to happen in the opposite direction, too: young mice that received old blood appeared to age prematurely. In some cases, injured muscles did not heal as fast as would be expected.

 

Several other experiments have shown similar effects. In 2012, Amy Wagersat Harvard University showed that young blood can reverse heart decline in old mice. Her team paired healthy young mice with old mice that had cardiac hypertrophy – a condition which swells the size of their heart – and connected their circulatory systems. After four weeks, the old mouse's heart had shrunk to the same size as its younger partner. In this experiment, the young mouse was seemingly unaffected by the old blood, its heart not changing in size.

Once the researchers had ruled out the effect of reduced blood pressure on the older mice, they identified a protein in the blood plasma called growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) that appeared to fall with age. To see if it was linked to the rejuvenating effects, the team gave old mice with enlarged hearts daily injections of GDF11 for 30 days. Their hearts decreased in size almost as much as they had in the parabiosis experiments (Cell, doi.org/q2f).

A year later, the same team showed in mice that daily injections of GDF11 also increases the number of blood vessels and the number of stem cells in the brain – both factors known to improve brain function. A separate team led by Tony Wyss-Coray at Stanford performed similar experiments. His team injected blood plasma from young mice into old mice and showed animprovement in the old mice's physical endurance and cognitive function(Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3569).

In both mice and humans, GDF11 falls with age. We don't know why it declines, but we know it is involved in several mechanisms that control growth. It is also thought to mediate some age-related effects on the brain, in part by activation of another protein that is involved in neuronal growth and long-term memory.

So the billion-dollar question is: would a GDF11 boost have the same effect in humans? Wyss-Coray thinks it will, having taken the next step of injecting young human blood plasma into old mice. His preliminary results suggest that human blood has similar rejuvenating benefits for old mice as young mouse blood does.

"We saw these astounding effects," he says. "The human blood had beneficial effects on every organ we've studied so far."

Now, the final step – giving young human blood plasma to older people with a medical condition – is about to begin. Getting approval to perform the experiment in humans has been relatively simple, says Wyss-Coray, thanks to the long safety record of blood transfusions. He warns against swapping blood at home because transfusions need to be screened for disease, matched for blood type and the plasma needs to be separated out. "Certainly you can't drink the blood," he says. "Although obviously we haven't tried that experiment."

So in early October, a team at Stanford School of Medicine will give a transfusion of blood plasma donated by people under 30 to older volunteers with mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

Following the impressive results in animal experiments, the team hopes to see immediate improvements in cognition, but Wyss-Coray cautions that it is still very experimental. "We will assess cognitive function immediately before and for several days after the transfusion, as well as tracking each person for a few months to see if any of their family or carers report any positive effects," he says. "The effects might be transient, but even if it's just for a day it is a proof of concept that is worth pursuing."

All researchers involved in the work agree that GDF11 is unlikely to be the only factor that keeps organs youthful. "It's too optimistic to think there would be just one factor," says Francesco Loffredo, who studies the effects of young blood in old animals at Harvard University. "It's much more likely to be several factors that exert these effects in combination."

Loffredo says the approach of testing the effects of young blood in people with Alzheimer's is fascinating, but reckons in the long-term it is best to continue to strive to identify the individual factors that are exerting the rejuvenating effects so that they can be translated to humans more easily. "Imagine if you had to be transfused with young blood all the time – it's hard to imagine as a therapy. Who is going to be donating all this blood?" he asks.

Wyss-Coray agrees. "It would be great if we could identify several factors that we could boost in older people," he says. "Then we might be able to make a drug that does the same thing. We also want to know what organ in the body produces these factors. If we knew that, maybe we could stimulate that tissue in older people."

Chemotherapy aid

Alessandro Laviano at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy says that the research on diseases of ageing certainly holds promise, but he is more interested in the potential use of young blood in chronic disease. People with cancer who resist muscle loss have better chances of survival, he says. "So I'd like to consider the possibility of using these youthful factors in young blood to reduce the muscle wasting that occurs during chemotherapy."

Before moving to clinical trials in people with cancer we need to learn more about the dynamics of the beneficial factors in blood, says Laviano, such as when they are at their peak. Do we reach a peak at 5 or 35 years? "We just don't know," he says. He would also like to investigate what happens when you give "too much" GDF11 – does it result in extra benefit or a negative outcome?

Laviano is currently looking at the effect of GDF11 on tumours in animals to see if it inhibits their growth, but he would also like to start an observational trial in humans. It would be very simple, he says, to find the age of the blood given to people receiving transfusions and test whether it has any effect.

"I certainly think that this therapy might be beneficial in a number of different conditions," says Wyss-Coray. "Blood might contain the fountain of youth after all. And it is within us all – that's the crazy thing. It just loses its power as we age."

This article appeared in print under the headline "Young blood turns back 

 

 

 

 

I've been following this for a while now and it seems we're finally entering human trials. Should it succeed, could it become the latest fad among the very wealthy, to buy young blood and have daily transfusions? That would be the stuff of science fiction.



#2 niner

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:43 PM

Hmm.  Alzheimer's is a tough nut to crack.  What if the damage is already done there, so the young blood appears to do nothing?  Well, I guess we'll find out.



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#3 PWAIN

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:52 PM

Even so, these are likely to be quite elderly so other markers might be apparent. My guess is that this is more about finding a medical excuse to do the experiment than pure focus on alzheimers. Got to get your funding and this is a rich area.

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#4 JohnD60

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:32 PM

I am a fan of this type of testing also. But the age range for human donors of "under 30" seems ill conceived. Such a test should start with a much younger donor group. IMO mid teens. Maybe there are legal issues associated with mid teen donors. If there are legal issues then at least make the donor max age 20, so you would get a younger and fairly uniform age range for donors of 18-20. It is almost as if they have designed the test to fail and discredit the approach, alzheimers patients doped with mid 20s donor blood, I am not optimistic.


Edited by JohnD60, 21 August 2014 - 09:42 PM.

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#5 forever freedom

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:52 PM

Even so, these are likely to be quite elderly so other markers might be apparent. My guess is that this is more about finding a medical excuse to do the experiment than pure focus on alzheimers. Got to get your funding and this is a rich area.


I agree. It seems that these young blood transfusions improve several markers and functions of the body, not being just Alzheimers related.

#6 corb

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:40 PM

 

the billion-dollar question is: would a GDF11 boost have the same effect in humans?

No. The billion dollar question is why not just give them GDF11 instead of transfusing blood if that's what you're specifically interested in. :|?

This experiment is quite suspect however you look at it. Sounds like something people on this forum would come up with, not a thing a serious research group would undertake.

Seems like a publicity stunt to me. Maybe they're so sure it's going to work they're doing it, to get some extra funding?

 

 


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#7 forever freedom

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:23 AM


the billion-dollar question is: would a GDF11 boost have the same effect in humans?

This experiment is quite suspect however you look at it. Sounds like something people on this forum would come up with, not a thing a serious research group would undertake

I don't know why you say this, just because it is a relatively simple experiment? So it surprises me that this hasn't been done before.. well someone has to do it.

#8 niner

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:25 AM

... it surprises me that this hasn't been done before..

It surprises me that it's being done this soon.



#9 corb

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 11:14 AM

I don't know why you say this, just because it is a relatively simple experiment? So it surprises me that this hasn't been done before.. well someone has to do it.

 

Old people getting a blood transfusion? Oh, I'm sure it has happened once or twice in World history. :dry:

My skepticism aside I guess it's going to have a benefit either way, if it utterly fails scientists will finally stop basing rejuvenation technologies on mouse aging models, or it could work and there'll be a cheap protein shot you can get for better health in the near future, just like it used be popular to do gamma globulin shots for better immunity before. Proteins at least can be synthesized so there won't be a risk of getting a disease.



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#10 niner

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:58 PM

if it utterly fails scientists will finally stop basing rejuvenation technologies on mouse aging models

 

Not sure why you're so confident that this time will be any different than the hundreds of previous things that have failed going from animals to humans.  That's just the nature of the business.  Only some of it works.



#11 corb

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 02:32 PM

 

if it utterly fails scientists will finally stop basing rejuvenation technologies on mouse aging models

 

Not sure why you're so confident that this time will be any different than the hundreds of previous things that have failed going from animals to humans.  That's just the nature of the business.  Only some of it works.

 

 

I'm an optimist.

This trial is a bit different - typically when they do animal testing, they induce an illness artificially and "cure" it, and then they use that as an excuse if it fails in humans. In this experiment on the other hand, they're working on very basic terms, the mice are unchanged, all they did, was give them "young" blood. Just like the experiment with CR, the assumption is - our biologies are at least a bit comparable. Last time it proved to be untrue (not true enough), this might follow suit

Just another "strike" for mice I guess, still I'd like to think this will be the "you're out", after all it's yet another very basic comparison of biological functions, if we're not comparable even on this level what's the point of using them as a model at all?

 

Well either way I'm assuming it's going to fail or have almost no benefits for humans, I could be wrong, we'll see.



#12 auscj

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 08:36 AM

This type of intervention makes a lots of sense to me. Blood goes to every organ of your body whereas pills etc there is that doubt that any meaningful amount will get to where it needs to go. I agree 30 is too old though as much damage has usually mean done to the body by then.

 

This approach works on Dr Robert Young's theory (PH Miracle) of healthy blood and you will not get any disease. Although I don't believe in his way of a strict vegan diet. I tried his approach and had hormone issues. I think ultimately we need meat. But this theory of young blood solves these issues. Very interested to see the results of the trials even if the blood is a bit older than what i would like.


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#13 corb

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 02:52 PM

I agree 30 is too old though as much damage has usually mean done to the body by then.

 

They're giving them blood plasma, the age of the donors is more or less irrelevant as long as it's younger than the recipient.
All they're going to get is a boost in proteins, globulins, hormones and so on stuff that's in blood plasma.
Proteins don't change with age, only the amount you have of them in your body.

The amounts shouldn't change that drastically that early in life, either way, if they're too low people typically get ill.

 

I already said it in my first post, the best scenario was not younger blood but an actual synthesized protein so we can actually learn something out of this. :dry: For instance, which protein actually gives a benefit, it's not like you can get a blood transfusion every week even if this works. And if you expect a benefit it would have to happen about once a week, most proteins have that long before they get decomposed.

It's a doable intervention only if you get the proteins synthesized, obviously blood banks won't be able to keep up.


Edited by corb, 24 August 2014 - 03:00 PM.

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#14 Rocket

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 06:56 PM

Good grief if they're going to try and tackle Alzheimer's it's as if they want to demonstrate that gdf11 is a bust and sweep it under the rug. Why not evaluate the drug on healthy 60 year olds and look for improvements in things like improved cardiovascular benefits?

I guess it goes to show that the only things to be treated are diseases. Even if it were found that gdf11 had anti aging benefits to humans and came without side effects, it'd never be made available because aging isn't a disease.

Edited by Rocket, 24 August 2014 - 06:56 PM.

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#15 auscj

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:37 PM

 

I agree 30 is too old though as much damage has usually mean done to the body by then.

 

They're giving them blood plasma, the age of the donors is more or less irrelevant as long as it's younger than the recipient.
All they're going to get is a boost in proteins, globulins, hormones and so on stuff that's in blood plasma.
Proteins don't change with age, only the amount you have of them in your body.

The amounts shouldn't change that drastically that early in life, either way, if they're too low people typically get ill.

 

I already said it in my first post, the best scenario was not younger blood but an actual synthesized protein so we can actually learn something out of this. :dry: For instance, which protein actually gives a benefit, it's not like you can get a blood transfusion every week even if this works. And if you expect a benefit it would have to happen about once a week, most proteins have that long before they get decomposed.

It's a doable intervention only if you get the proteins synthesized, obviously blood banks won't be able to keep up.

 

 



#16 auscj

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:42 PM

If a blood transfusion does in fact make someone younger (or just blood plasma) we will find a way for this happen. Even if you have to do one weekly. Humans are a pretty smart bunch. And a lot of people have a lot of money and want to look and feel younger

 


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#17 corb

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Posted 27 August 2014 - 11:25 PM

 

Should it succeed, could it become the latest fad among the very wealthy, to buy young blood and have daily transfusions?

 

Now this was bugging me for a while, it was nibbling at my memory and I just didn't know why. And then I mentioned it to my mother and it turns out it was quite popular among hight standing communists in the 70s and 80s, our dear esteemed leader used to get young blood transfusions as well, which was an easy feat because the conscripts would give out blood annually so there was "young" blood to spare back in those days.

 

I'm not the type of person to use this as any indication of whether it was effective or not - seeing how most of the communist leaders passed away eventually either way, but still it's a funny little factoid I guess.

 

 


Edited by corb, 27 August 2014 - 11:25 PM.

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#18 ceridwen

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 12:00 AM

Most of them were about 80 years old at that time and fairly stupid too. sigh



#19 auscj

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Posted 28 August 2014 - 12:14 AM

If it works I can see either of two business models working here

 

1. where people get paid to donate their blood (there will be a lot of rules involved of course) - and people pay a weekly/monthly fee to get their new blood etc.

A win/win for both giving and receiving

 

or 

 

2. Some sort of man made version of blood/plasma that can be mass produced that replicates very closely real human blood/plasma with the same weekly/monthly fee applying.

(this one could be a few years away but def feasible in the nearish future)

 

 

 

 

 

 



#20 John Schloendorn

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 04:20 AM

if it utterly fails scientists will finally stop basing rejuvenation technologies on mouse aging models

 

 

Dude I like your style.  I think you're exactly right alluding to Gammaguard.  Gammaguard was an Alzheimer's drug that worked in phase 1 (but ultimately failed in phase3).  Blood contains Gammaguard.  So what these folks are doing is they're picking a phase1 surrogate that they know Gammaguard seemed effective for, and are hoping to meet it with whole blood, and declare victory...  This is might give them success, irrespective of donor age, and is certain to give them excellent press irrespective of success.  Far from "designed to fail", this designed to succeed, in a lot of carefully hedged ways, by someone with an astute awareness of medical history.  I for one am impressed. 



#21 niner

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 02:40 PM

 

if it utterly fails scientists will finally stop basing rejuvenation technologies on mouse aging models

 

Dude I like your style.  I think you're exactly right alluding to Gammaguard.  Gammaguard was an Alzheimer's drug that worked in phase 1 (but ultimately failed in phase3).  Blood contains Gammaguard.  So what these folks are doing is they're picking a phase1 surrogate that they know Gammaguard seemed effective for, and are hoping to meet it with whole blood, and declare victory...  This is might give them success, irrespective of donor age, and is certain to give them excellent press irrespective of success.  Far from "designed to fail", this designed to succeed, in a lot of carefully hedged ways, by someone with an astute awareness of medical history.  I for one am impressed. 

 

There is no way that a failure here will take rodent models out of the picture.  That's just not happening. 

 

John, I don't get it.  A phase 1 trial is a safety trial, so "working" just means it doesn't harm a healthy person.  Gammaguard is just gamma globulin, which has been around forever.  Do you think there is enough GG in a transfusion to make some kind of major difference here?  I don't think that the effects seen in the parabiosis work could be attributed to GG...


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#22 corb

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 03:00 PM

John, I don't get it.  A phase 1 trial is a safety trial, so "working" just means it doesn't harm a healthy person.

 

I think we can safely assume they're jumping over the safety phases on this study.

Probably one of the reasons why they decided to do the plasma instead of synthesized proteins.

 

I guess I should've thought of that myself in the first place. I'm still quite skeptical about the whole trial but as John said it seems to be organized in such a way, that it's going to show "success" regardless. Lets wait for the paper, it's more interesting where they want to go with this, than their actual "findings" if I have to be honest.



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#23 John Schloendorn

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 12:02 AM

A phase 1 trial is a safety trial

 

 

Right, exactly.  One corollary of this is that efficacy claims aren't regulated in phase1.  So in phase1 people are free to go to the press with whatever efficacy claims they choose, as long as they're not trying to sell the unapproved product itself.  That's how it can be that sometimes things look extremely efficacious if all one reads is headlines, and then nothing in phase3. 


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#24 Mind

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 03:24 PM

Good grief if they're going to try and tackle Alzheimer's it's as if they want to demonstrate that gdf11 is a bust and sweep it under the rug. Why not evaluate the drug on healthy 60 year olds and look for improvements in things like improved cardiovascular benefits?

I guess it goes to show that the only things to be treated are diseases. Even if it were found that gdf11 had anti aging benefits to humans and came without side effects, it'd never be made available because aging isn't a disease.

 

Ah yes, the FDA's archaic anti-progress rules.



#25 corb

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 03:47 PM

 

A phase 1 trial is a safety trial

 

 

Right, exactly.  One corollary of this is that efficacy claims aren't regulated in phase1.  So in phase1 people are free to go to the press with whatever efficacy claims they choose, as long as they're not trying to sell the unapproved product itself.  That's how it can be that sometimes things look extremely efficacious if all one reads is headlines, and then nothing in phase3. 

 

 

Are they really doing a phase 1 for a plasma transfusion. Why?! 

They surely can't be that underhanded about it. That's so shady.



#26 John Schloendorn

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:37 PM

It doesn't really matter if you call it 1 or 2, a or b.  These terms are fluid.  As long as it's not 3 / pivotal, you can use whatever surrogate endpoint, cherry-pick whatever subgroup, and say whatever you want about efficacy.  Nobody tells you not to, other than your investors.  Before phase3, it's buyer beware. 

 

 

That's so shady.

 

 

Hah, why do you think it is that more often than not, your average biotech makes it up to a billion market cap with no products, on phase2 hype alone, and then craters into nothingness when they can't postpone announcing phase 3 results any longer.  I'm not telling you anything that should surprise....  Whatever happens in these kinds of companies is obviously shady based on the facts alone, whether or not you find my personally tained perspective on it appealing :) Welcome to planet earth. 



#27 ceridwen

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 02:34 AM

news.bbc.co.uk/hi/health/8094936.stm. Things could get very complicated. There oil be a bunch of demented old people who try to behave like adolescents. Isoketo someone who had blood transfusion who briefly took on the characteristics I her donor
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#28 ceridwen

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 02:40 AM

It's possible that the donated blood could over write the recipients personality
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#29 niner

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 02:59 AM

It's possible that the donated blood could over write the recipients personality

 

No.  That's not possible.



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#30 corb

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 05:38 PM

It's possible that the donated blood could over write the recipients personality

 

news.bbc.co.uk/hi/health/8094936.stm. Things could get very complicated. There oil be a bunch of demented old people who try to behave like adolescents. Isoketo someone who had blood transfusion who briefly took on the characteristics I her donor

 

Why isn't there a facepalm reaction in the emoticons?

And more importantly, why isn't there a moderator in this forum? This is obviously a troll.







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