The 'blood boy' doctor doesn't seeeeeeem like a vampire
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The ‘blood boy’ doctor doesn’t seeeeeeem like a vampire


"This vintage is great. Only 17-years old!"
“This vintage is great. Only 17-years old!”

Image: Ann Cutting/Getty Images

The blood of America’s teenagers supposedly has the power to make you young again. 

No, this is not the plot of a horror movie, but the belief of a California doctor studying the little-known field of parabiosis— and you better believe Silicon Valley is eating it up. 

The rough idea behind the science, which has been tested in mice and is now undergoing human trials, is that by transfusing plasma from a healthy young individual to an older person doctors might be able to reverse the latter’s symptoms of aging.

“I think we’re seeing a reversal of aging.”

There is plenty of skepticism around this claim, but that doesn’t seem to have slowed down Ambrosia LLC and its founder Dr. Jesse Karmazin. The 33-year old doctor and his cohorts have treated around 80 people, who pay $8,000 a visit for the privilege, and he was happy to tell us about the transfusions’ effects. 

“I think we’re seeing a reversal of aging,” he said, after noting that following treatments his patients have reported increased energy, darker hair, and just generally feeling better. (OK, let’s not get carried away here — at this point it’s hard to say if the effects are real or perceived.) 

The plasma in question is purchased from blood banks and comes from donors below 25 years of age. Why that cutoff?

“Somewhere in the 20s,” observed Karmazin, “most people lose that youthful quality.” 

And there’s definitely no point of pumping elderly patients full of blood that lacks the qualities of youth. That would just be weird. 

Speaking of his patients, who, exactly, are these people? While HBO’s Silicon Valley would have you believe that every tech titan worth his or her salt has their own personal “blood boy,” that may not exactly be true. 

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“Most of the patients are not from Silicon Valley,” said Karmazin. Most. Which, well, means that some are. And with Silicon Valley known for being a life-extension fantasy land, it’s no surprise that people assume the tech-set is lining up to bask in the blood of teenagers. 

More broadly, it turns out that a majority of the people participating in the trial are (surprise!) men near retirement age. Although with some patients are in their forties, it’s apparently never too early to start getting younger. 

When asked if he himself is attempting to dial back his biological clock with regular transfusions, the doctor, who we’re pretty sure is not a sci-fi vampire, explained that he’s too young. The study rules bar those under the age of 35 from tasting the joy that is blood swapping with a strapping young lad or lass. 

But that doesn’t mean that young people who want to disrupt death won’t get down in the future. Karmazin noted that the procedure seems to work just as well on the young as on the elderly. 

“Now we have data suggesting there’s real changes in physiology after treatment,” added the doctor. “The goal is to make it available to everyone.”

You hear that, kids? Should the science bear Dr. Karmazin out, your blood may soon be a hot commodity. Better keep an eye out, and if any old man wearing tech-company swag inquires about your blood type, we recommend you run. Fast. 

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June 3, 2017
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