KARMIC JUSTICE Canadian court judge Mark Tyndale has given blood a whopping 870-plus times. Now 60 years old, donating was a simple way to save lives. But in 2013 he found himself on the other side of the equation when he was rushed to hospital with a deadly flesh-eating disease. Fortunately, what goes around comes around. Tyndale survived after receiving 11 litres of gamma globulin, which, given his prolific donor record, quite possibly contained his own plasma.
CALL TO ACTION Australian James Harrison received a life-saving blood transfusion in 1951, at age 14. Inspired, the boy pledged to become a donor himself. It’s a good thing he did: 16 years later, his blood was found to contain an antibody that was used to create a vaccine to prevent haemolytic disease, a blood disorder in which pregnant women form antibodies that attack their unborn children. While Harrison’s blood has since saved an estimated 2.4 million babies, this year he’ll be too old to legally donate. He’s calling on others to step in: “Roll up your sleeve, put out your arm and save lives,” he says.
VERY PECULIAR PROCEDURE The fountain of youth really is filled with young blood, according to a US start-up company. Ambrosia, founded by Stanford University medical graduate Jesse Karmazin, has developed a consumer-funded ‘clinical trial’ in which participants pay $8000 to receive an injection of blood plasma from donors who are 25 and younger. The plasma will make recipients feel smarter and more youthful, Karmazin claims. He attributes the benefits to growth factors and proteins, vital to cell function, which appear in greater volume in young blood. Ambrosia has completed 120-plus transfusions, but medical researchers have raised doubts over the trial, which features no control group and isn’t peer-reviewed.