Blood 血液

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Vocabulary: biology 詞匯: 生物

Image caption A breakfast like this will keep you going for hours

I have always enjoyed black pudding for breakfast. Nothing can compare with the taste of the rich black sausage made of pigs' blood. However, even I might draw the line at making black pudding from my own blood. That's exactly what the BBC's Michael Mosley has done. It's part of an investigation into the incredible power of blood to protect and regenerate our bodies.

For thousands of years people have believed in the power of blood to make us young. In Roman times, the sick were encouraged to drink the blood of freshly killed gladiators to cure their illnesses. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Count Dracula is transformed from a little old man to a super athlete when he drinks human blood.

Recent research seems to back up these ideas. Scientists in California have looked at what happens to old mice when you inject them with the blood of young mice. After the infusion, the mice perform better in memory tests, and their brains start to sprout new connections making them more like young brains. This could be used for people with Alzheimer's disease.

Another treatment is called PRP (platelet rich plasma), also known as the Vampire Facelift. This involves taking your own blood, extracting the plasma and then injecting it back into your face. Popular with stars such as Tiger Woods and Kim Kardashian, PRP has been proved to be effective for wound repair. After two weeks' treatment, Michael's face did feel like a baby's bottom.

So should we all be eating blood, and possibly rubbing it onto our skin? Maybe, but scientists such as Dr Saul Villeda of the University of California have a less extreme vision. "My hope," Villeda says, "is that we can identify the youthful factors in blood that we want to raise and the ageing factors we have to lower. And I think that'll be a much better way, a much more controlled way."

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