Kim Jong-il was a lot of things. Supreme leader of North Korea. Center of an elaborate cult of personality. And, the greatest golfer the world has ever seen. Who knew he was also a pioneer of science? Rumor has it that Kim Jong-il slowed the aging process by injecting himself with the blood of young virgins. A recent study out of Stanford University suggests the idea is not as crazy as it sounds.
Specifically, the study found that the blood of young mice injected into older mice reversed some of the effects of aging. The mice receiving the injections demonstrated improved learning and memory similar to that of their younger counterparts. There was no word on whether the younger mice were of the virgin variety.
While we have no meaningful idea where Kim came up with the young blood idea (although we harbor some suspicions) , it makes sense on a somewhat rudimentary level. Blood is the source of life. Transfuse an old body with young blood. Keep old body young. Sounds logical. Science, however, has a more intelligent answer:
[The researcher] said that the young blood most likely reversed ageing by topping up levels of key chemical factors that tend to decline in the blood as animals age. Reintroduce these and “all of a sudden you have all of these plasticity and learning and memory-related genes that are coming back”. Which factors in particular are causing the effect is unclear since there are hundreds of thousands in blood.
According to the study, young blood transfusions could one day fight off the effects of aging, including Alzheimer’s. If, in fact, this comes to fruition, it could be a monumental breakthrough. When that occurs, expect Kim’s estate to take all the credit posthumously. (And we can’t wait for the young blood products liability lawsuits that will inevitably arrive in that not so distant future.).
(Hat Tip: Executed Today).