That’s Out­ra­geous

BLOODY MAR­VEL­LOUS

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents - BY MEAGAN BOISSÉ

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.

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