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Scientists in China may have found a way to potentially reverse the aging process via a technique that can be described as “vampiric.”

Published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Cell Stem Cell, the study led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences involved surgically connecting the circulatory systems of old mice to those of younger specimens. After being injected with blood taken from the young mice, the old ones reportedly lived longer.

The process, which involves joining an aged specimen with a young partner, has been known to scientists for at least seven decades as heterochronic parabiosis (HP).

Over the years, several papers have reported HP’s anti-aging effects. Up until recently, the actual impact that young blood has on older circulatory systems remained a mystery.

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The new HP stem cell procedure that the researchers developed successfully rejuvenated the older rodents’ adult stem cells and surrounding somatic cells. The degeneration of vital organs and tissues, which naturally occurs during aging, appeared to have reversed temporarily during the scientists’ study. The new treatment, however, had a negative effect on the young mice since their exposure to old blood caused premature aging.

The authors of the study posit that their findings may offer relevant data for further research into anti-aging medical treatment.

“Our work constitutes a mineable resource for advancing our understanding of aging-related systemic factors and how they might be targeted to alleviate aging,” they wrote.

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