'Vampire therapy' may reverse Alzheimer's symptoms

'Vampire therapy' may reverse Alzheimer's symptoms

"Vampire therapy" - transfusing blood of young people into elderly - may reverse some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's, scientists say.

Researchers at Stanford University in the US infused blood plasma of 18 to 30-year-olds into people with signs of moderate dementia who then regained some of their everyday skills, such as the ability to bathe and dress or do shopping and housework by themselves.

Alzheimer's disease being the most common form of dementia. It kills brain cells, damaging memory and the ability to think straight, speak and organise oneself.

Researchers followed earlier animal studies that showed the blood of young mice could rejuvenate the brains of old mice, causing a burst of cell growth in the hippocampus, which is central to memory.

"There were hints of improvement on tests of functional ability," Sharon Sha, associate professor at Stanford University told 'The Times'.

"These included the capacity to perform basic tasks essential to independent daily life such as remembering to take medications and being able to pay bills and prepare one's own meals," Sha said.

The team conducted a human trial 18 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. They were given a battery of tests to measure their cognition, mood and functional ability.

Participants were given regular infusions of plasma, the liquid part of blood, with all cells removed, with the tests repeated during and at the end of the trial.

Researchers noted that there were unexpected but measurable improvements in day-to-day skills. There were, however, no noticeable improvements in patients' mood or cognition.

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