Sorry, no vampire stories in Nature yet

If you can’t trust the Sun/New York Post, who can you trust? This is their summary of a science article.

Drinking young people’s blood could help you live longer and prevent age-related diseases, a study has found.

Blood factors taken from younger animals have been found to improve the later-life health of older creatures.

The study, published in Nature, was conducted by researchers from University College London (UCL), who said it could reduce the chances of developing age-related disorders.

Gosh, that sounds like fun, so I clicked through to read the source.

I was so disappointed.

It’s a review article titled “Facing up to the global challenges of ageing”, and it’s not about wealthy vampires bleeding young people dry at all. It’s also not a “study”. It’s a summary of prior published research.

The main concern of the paper is a survey of all of the factors that contribute to late-life morbidity — if we extend lifespans, what’s the point if those last years are spent suffering with diseases of the aged? There’s a brief mention of “blood factors obtained from young individuals”, but that’s kind of it — the rest is detailed information about lots of identified problems. Here’s a taste:

Lifestyle interventions, while often beneficial, can be insufficient to prevent the progress of age-related problems, partly because of failures in compliance, and also because of limited and variable responses. Drugs are an additional option, and are already in widespread use for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, by pharmacologically decreasing hypertension and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in healthy individuals who are at risk of cardiovascular disease (primary prevention). Treatment of the elderly is complex, since the relation between cardiovascular risk indicators, such as high body mass index, blood pressure and blood lipids, and end points, such as mortality, can change and even reverse with increasing age. The changing correlation with age could indicate that pharmacological interventions should depend on age and the presence of frailty and multimorbidity. However, mortality may be selective, with those sensitive to classical risk factors dying before the age of 70, or reverse causation may occur, with age-related diseases leading to low body mass index and blood pressure, and further work teasing out causality is needed. The ageing process in animals shows evolutionarily conserved, parallel and interacting mechanisms, known as hallmarks, that have proven to be modifiable, and several of these are also well-documented in humans. They eventually lead to unrepaired damage in DNA, accumulation of misfolded and aggregated proteins (for example, in the brain and the retina) and senescent cells (for example, in joints and kidneys) as well as to an inappropriate and persistent activation of stress responses, such as in the innate immune system (inflammaging). To develop further interventions to compress morbidity, including drugs, we need a better understanding of the roles of individual ageing mechanisms in different tissues and at different stages in life, and their contributions to the aetiology of age-related diseases. To this end, animal studies are useful to inform more targeted studies in humans.

It’s really hard to make a horror movie with good jump scares out of this kind of thing, but the NY Post tried. I’m sorry to say there was no mention of “drinking young people’s blood” anywhere in the paper.

Come on, Nature, this is probably why more people read the NY Post and the Sun than Nature. I also notice that Nature has a terrible lack of scantily clad girls on page 3.


  1. wzrd1 says

    So, infusing younger organisms blood into aged organisms is exactly the same as drinking said blood to that reporter.
    I’d hate to see what said correspondent would do with an enema!

    Then, misreporting the rest of the article, getting the cart before the horse and thoroughly bogged down in the mud.

  2. robro says

    You just wait until Rupert and sons get their hands on Nature Publishing Group. They’ll get huge audiences with sciency stories about the joys of drinking blood, why Donald Trump really is a genius, plus page 3 girls.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Do your homework, Prof. Myers!

    Start with Henry Gee’s Futures from Nature: 100 speculative fictions. Note that it includes “eight-hundred word modules… originally published in the great science journal Nature between 1999 and 2006, as one-page features…”

    Turn to page 176, there to read Ken MacLeod’s “Undead Again”. (You might find more, for extra credit, in the other 99 I have not perused yet either.) Then consider another, more accurate, title for this post.


  4. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Sorry, no vampire stories in Nature yet

    Except their entire business model, I guess.

  5. says

    Sorta on/topic topic, but I found it very interesting. Google “Dracula ants”. They are an endangered species whose adult form cannot digest solids. So, they bring the food to their larvae, then slit the skin of the larvae and drink the body fluids/blood. They also drink the body fluids of the other types of insects they hunt before bringing the body back to the nest. Nature can be weird.
    Being so specialized is probability (I think) the reason they are endangered. The world is constantly changing and a species usually needs a back-up plan.

  6. Holms says

    It’s disappointing to realise the author of the article doesn’t know the difference between ingestion and injection.

  7. patricklinnen says

    Because blood won’t de-nature in the acidic environment of the stomach. Oh, Wait …

    Like Countess Bathory still lives. Oh, Wait …

    That cuisine that includes blood promotes longer life? (See Wiki entry on blood sausage.) It is eaten world wide but there is no spike in longevity eating blood.

    When I was younger and cynical, mockery would be my response. In my more older and even more cynical age, I would suggest serving blood with prions from kuru-kuru or Mad Cow Disease.

  8. Rich Woods says

    Because I have fuelled the greater part of my life thus far by subsisting upon black pudding, I am reassured to know that I will spend the rest of eternity living as a pig.