Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Infusion of young blood is the key to eternal youth

It seems that what humanity needs is an injection of new blood – quite literally. For scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered that by infusing the brains of old mice with the blood of young mice, the aging mind is rejuvenated and mental decline halted. No doubt this experimentation will now be swiftly extended to bunnies, beagles and primates, and thence to human dementia patients. And when the efficacy of the therapy is scientifically proven to combat Alzheimer's and reverse impairments to brain function, no doubt it will be marketed in shiny sky-blue packaging as the key to eternal youth.

And it will be worth biotech $billions, for everyone is aging quite naturally, and no one really looks forward to second childishness and mere oblivion. What 60-year-old doesn't want to feel 20 again? If our lives may be extended and decaying brains recharged with young blood, then why not roll out the therapy to mitigate our suffering and improve the human lot?

The problem is that this Brave New World will require a plentiful supply of young blood.

Fortunately, we already abort millions of babies and harvest billions of stem cells, so it looks as though we'll eventually be injecting embryo blood to strengthen our muscles and sharpen our minds. And why not? How exactly is this different from a routine blood transfusion or organ transplant? Since Parliament has determined that babies in the womb are not fully human and stem-cell research is a wholly moral pursuit, does it not make complete sense to use what would otherwise be discarded and incinerated? If it be acceptable to destroy potential life for human convenience, why not for medical expedience to the manifest benefit of those who are living?

Many of us who might object to routine vampirism on religious grounds tend to be quite accepting of stem-cell research in the pursuit of cures for disease: there is no consensus on the dualistic separation of the secular and sacred when it comes to bio ethics. If it be moral to combat neurological illnesses like Parkinson’s, then why not debilitating mental afflictions like Alzheimer's? If we may reverse dementia with infusions of baby blood, what is wrong with bio-engineering a therapy to prevent the onset altogether?

The 'unwanted child' is now a well-established part of or cultural-ethical landscape. Pregnant teenagers and career-minded women are no longer required to sacrifice their personal freedoms for the sake of a baby. Autonomy and individuality are the foundation of our rights, and it is deemed 'inappropriate' in our political discourse to weigh the rights of the woman against those of the unborn child, for the latter has none. The call now is for everyone to do what is right in his or her own eyes, which is a formula for moral chaos and disobedience to God (Deut 12:8; Judg 17:6; 21:25).

We no longer really care when life begins or whether a foetus is a person, not least because such questions are unanswerable both scientifically and scripturally. We may have an opinion or a belief, but morality is besieged by claims and counter-claims of liberation and empowerment, and the religious worldview is unsettled by experience. Life is sacred, yes, but much more when it is our own. And the 'quality of life' is now paramount. So who may reasonably object to the eradication of deformity or the mitigation of mental handicap with the infusion of new blood?


Blogger Dr Robert Warde said...

before the great and terrible day of the LORD (Judgment day)the love of many will grow cold, they will be lovers of them selves and haters of GOD, and all God stands for.

6 May 2014 at 09:07  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Excellent, searching, questioning piece Your Grace.

Questions abound, but will this be the next way, by gentle "ethical", sanitised degrees of course, in which society consumes its own young in the quest for an earthly near immortality for its autonomous, free-thinking, oh so "liberated", god-like but god-free, post-modern denizens ?

6 May 2014 at 09:10  
Blogger Ben Thorp said...

Soylent Green is people! :(

6 May 2014 at 09:12  
Blogger IanCad said...

HG wrote:

"What 60-year-old doesn't want to feel 20 again?"

But it never ends!

At the 89th birthday bash for Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, 92 year old Sen. Robert Byrd began his speech with the words:
"O to be Eighty Nine again."

Few will resist the temptation to drink from the fountain of youth.

We are in a new dark age.

6 May 2014 at 09:41  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

The problem is that this Brave New World will require a plentiful supply of young blood.

Or, on the other hand, further research may identify the particular protein or whatever it is that is doing the trick, so that it can be synthesised.

But that doesn't invalidate Your Grace's analysis of the degradation of our social and moral values.

6 May 2014 at 10:10  
Blogger John Thomas said...

I sincerely beg your pardon, Your Grace, for this piece of selfism, but I fancy you might find my future-dystopia novel Death Tonight (Twin Books [googleable]) to say much about a future created by this kind of nightmare ...

6 May 2014 at 10:13  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Sooner or later the time will come for monkey glands to stage a comeback.

Voronoff's early experiments in this field included transplanting thyroid glands from chimpanzees to humans with thyroid deficiencies. He moved on to transplanting the testicles of executed criminals into millionaires, but, when demand outstripped supply, he turned to using monkey testicle tissue instead.

6 May 2014 at 10:59  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Embryonic stem-cell research is immoral - including the use of discarded IVF (itself morally unacceptable) cells.

"It now seems undeniable that once we cross the fundamental moral line that prevents us from treating any fellow human being as a mere object of research, there is no stopping point. The only moral stance that affirms the human dignity of all of us is to reject the first step down this path."

"No commitment to a hoped-for 'greater good' can erase or diminish the wrong of directly taking innocent human lives here and now. In fact, policies undermining our respect for human life can only endanger the vulnerable patients that stem-cell research offers to help. The same ethic that justifies taking some lives to help the patient with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease today can be used to sacrifice that very patient tomorrow."
(American Bishop's Conference)

6 May 2014 at 13:21  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Uncle Brian

"He moved on to transplanting the testicles of executed criminals into millionaires, but, when demand outstripped supply, he turned to using monkey testicle tissue instead."

I did wonder about the moral and intelligent legitimacy of the members of both government and shadow benches. You appear to have answered my questions regarding the criminal mentality of expenses claiming and the lack of basic humanity in law making!



6 May 2014 at 13:25  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Blowers, mon ami, how nice to see you back again. Your long absence did not pass altogether unnoticed. Don't tell me that you, too, have been experimenting with rejuvenation therapy. Be careful how you choose your spare parts supplier!

6 May 2014 at 13:45  
Blogger Len said...

Without God there are' no absolutes' of truth or morality.
Perhaps that is the reason that man is now experimenting with stem cells and the suchlike?.
I suppose eventually(taking this to its 'logical ' conclusion) why not grow' body parts' and keep them in some sort of spare parts laboratory for future use?.
It sounds like something from a seventies horror movie but who ever though George Orwell`s 1984 nightmare World would ever start to materialize ?.

And the amazing scientific discovery about blood? Scripture states (centuries ago) 'Leviticus 17:11 For the life of a creature is in the blood'.

6 May 2014 at 18:02  
Blogger Nath said...

Roll on the second coming! I can almost hear the cries of the Angels!

6 May 2014 at 18:04  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Rather ironic that this kind of thing would be referred to as progress. The human race has form in consuming itself, long form. The earliest missionaries to Africa reported similar. The biggest scoundrel in the tribe was the witch doctor. Prepubescent African boys were well advised to stay clear of this character in much the same way unwanted babies today need to avoid the pregnancy advisory people. The most prised parts were the young lad’s undeveloped genitals, but one suspects, just like the pig in today’s abattoirs, the only bit not used was his death squeal. From what one reads about Nigeria, it looks like the old ways are making a comeback there, whether Hardluck Jonathan wants them to or not. Such is diversity, which of course, we must all respect in our liberated secular world where all are as equal as you can get, and a humanity free of God can do no wrong.

As the safari tourist might say. “Somebody bring that ethnic medic over to me, there seems to be some wiry hair in my baldness cure soup !”

Bon Appetite everyone, what !

6 May 2014 at 18:10  
Blogger Len said...

I think I hear Blowers on the way ,

(fanfare and a roll on the drums)

'Sidewinders' and a stinger at the ready to take on the Pope mobile...

6 May 2014 at 18:11  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Len said...

I think I hear Blowers on the way , (Had it fitted with stealth mode, unlike those 2 British euro fighters that even the Russians and Chinese can easily detect)

'Sidewinders' and a stinger at the ready to take on the Pope mobile...(Dear fellow, the way the world is going, I feel the pope is the very least of my current worries/angst about this mad world..this is not to say he won't be in the future. It is becoming a nightmare by the day to tread this cursed earth)

Blowers, Len, my fine evangelist.

6 May 2014 at 20:07  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Blowers, there you are. Land of the living one hopes – it’s hard to tell these days...

One has just finished watching ‘On her Majesty’s Secret Service’, with Telly Savalas portraying you in that, as one is sure your less than active mind will remember. Any Greek in you by any chance - not necessarily at this moment, one might add. Those gorgeous EU healthcare types, what !

Oh, yes, we’ll finish off with “God bless the Pope”

There, finished for tonight, and a good job done too. Keep well best you can old thing. That’s an order.

6 May 2014 at 20:25  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

An interesting story and reflection. Should there be limits other than 'because we can' on biomedical research.

I have been thinking for some years about the broader issue of research. We have pushed the limits of medical technology so that 80 becomes the new 65 and 100 becomes the new 80. This is all very well and dandy, my parents are 80 and 81, but my daughter is facing heavy student debt, unaffordable housing and heavy taxes to pay for my and my parents retirement. She has no plans to have children.

I know a little bit about skin cancer and Your Grace's communicants might be aware of a drug called Ipilimumab, or Yervoy used to treat the most advanced and incurable cases of melanoma. Some might even have benefited from it or other advanced cancer therapies, and I would not wish to offend anyone.

The 'mu' in Ipilimumab means murine, i.e. from mice. The drug is, as far as I have been able to establish (and am open to correction) purified from the blood of genetically modified mice and then 'humanised'. Now I am not saying a word against this drug or anyone who makes, sells, prescribes, campaigns for or uses it. But it costs about £80,000 for a course of treatment and in many cases only gives a few extra weeks of life, although some do much better.

All sorts of super drugs like this are coming out of the biopharm industry. The question is, can we afford them? and if not, is it ethical to 'finance it' and pass the debt on to the next generation-because that is what we are doing.

There will always be a hullaballoo when a named individual with advanced cancer somebody's mother, somebody's husband, might benefit from such a medicine and it is denied on cost grounds. There is much less fuss when 2 nurses at a leg ulcer, psoriasis or memory loss clinic lose their posts to find the money.

Currently I fear that the big biopharm companies and other enthusiasts are spinning us a yarn and wide eyed us are taking it all in. Eternal life through medicine? Or will we find, as I recently heard Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship say about the demographic time bomb, thet

'the generation that killed its children (through abortion) will be killed by its children (by euthanasia).

Chilling times ahead.

6 May 2014 at 20:58  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PS on further reflection on HIs Grace's post, and mindful of what befell him, Latimer and Ridley at the hands of The Authority in the streets of Oxford, I am reminded of the Dawkosaurus' pronouncement on Oxford's departments of theology.

They should all be closed down, fumed our Greatest Living Scientist, and the money spend on scientific research instead.

It figures.

6 May 2014 at 21:09  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PPS a final reflection (for tonight) on this post, anyone who likes C S Lewis but hasn't yet read his sci-fi trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Voyage to Venus, and That Hideous Strength) has a treat to look forward to.

Without unduly spoiling plots, That Hideous Strength concerns a 'conspiracy against the human race' which involves an alliance between scientists and devils, and the unnatural prolongation of the life of chosen individuals.

As is so often the case with lucid and telling insights into our declining post-Christian civilisation (and, John Thomas, I bet my post-apocalyptic novel is worse than yours) dear old C S Lewis got there first and did it best.

6 May 2014 at 21:17  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

Thank you, your Grace, for an article that is as thought-provoking as it is depressing. How much more wicked can this generation get?

'Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells' (2 Peter 3:13).

6 May 2014 at 22:53  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Welcome back on board Blowers. How's things? A 'rap' about the new job, perhaps?

6 May 2014 at 23:13  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"Dear fellow, the way the world is going, I feel the pope is the very least of my current worries/angst about this mad world..this is not to say he won't be in the future. It is becoming a nightmare by the day to tread this cursed earth."

How different if the nation had not abandoned God's will in its laws, institutions (spiritual and temporal) and customs.

Despite its many human flaws the Catholic Church has not formally moved on the moral issues of our time (yet?). It has held firm on its teachings on contraception, divorce, abortion, IVF and stem cell research, and proper sexual relationships. It is under severe pressure to change from within and from without.

Where the Catholic Church is
failing is in not meeting the challenges of the modern secular, liberal and atheist world. Principally, it has failed in clear and proper instruction to its members and their children, and in maintaining proper discipline - moral, spiritual and doctrinal - amongst its priests.

6 May 2014 at 23:30  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Rambling Steve

100 years ago it was accepted as fact that some races were further along the Evolutionary ladder than others.

Now we laugh or cringe at our ancestor's certainties.

You are completely right. Without more children to pay the bills we cannot afford the cost of some older people.

Will we laugh in the future that we once thought we could?

If it does work it will change everything. I wouldn't underestimate the determination of those that believe that this is all there is, to go to any lengths to life twice as long.

What quaint notions of what is right and wrong will they laugh at about our society 100 years from now?


6 May 2014 at 23:36  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Hi Phil.

The Bible as ever has a lot to say albeit indirectly about our hubristic 'rage, rage against the dying of the light'.

The story of the Tower of Babel comes to mind, a technological but godless marvel. The Serpent's boast to Eve that if she defied God she would becomexlike him

Psalm 90 ' three score years and ten is the story of our years, or perchance by reason of strength four score, and then we fly away....let us fear God that we may get a heart of wisdom..'

Paul wrote about our earthly tent that is decaying. Fact is, we ain't none of us getting out of here alive and we ought to consider that, beyond a reasonable limit, the doomed attempt to achieve immortality through medicine-for the wealthy at least- may even do more harm than good when a holistic view of life is taken.

7 May 2014 at 07:22  
Blogger John Thomas said...

And, Len, let's not forget the great C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength.

7 May 2014 at 09:25  
Blogger Preacher said...

The fear of death drives men to this madness. Despite all the bravado, they are afraid of dying.
Why? Because regardless of their talk about there being no God, they still retain an uncertainty of the truth of their bold claims & fear to put them to the ultimate test.

Those that know that death's power was defeated 2000 years ago at the tomb in Gethsemane there is no fear. Like the first martyrs we can stare death down as a fallen foe.

The cry of the companies who make billions from the fear of the faithless, is "Eat drink & be merry, for tomorrow we can extend your existence by a few Months or a year or two!".

Ironically, the answer to eternal life does lie in Blood. But only the precious Blood of Christ, shed to cleanse us of sin & present us blameless before God.

Blessings. P.

7 May 2014 at 09:50  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Preacher @09.50

Well said !

7 May 2014 at 10:59  

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