Tag Archives | blood

Vampire Science: Why I Consumed My Own Blood

The consumption of human blood has long been a (somewhat taboo) obsession. Michael Moseley decided to do it but in a “scientific” context, for BBC News:

In 1897 Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published, helping fan an interest in blood-drinking human vampires that has never gone away. In the novel, Count Dracula feeds on human blood and transforms himself from a little old man with white hair into a dark-haired super-athlete.

Stoker’s novel, and others that came before it (such as “Carmilla”, a novel about a lesbian vampire) were in turn inspired by centuries of mythology that have surrounded blood, mainly focused on its alleged powers to heal and restore.

In Roman times the sick, particularly epileptics, were encouraged to attend gladiatorial combats in the hope that they would be able to cure their illnesses by drinking the blood of a freshly killed gladiator

In later centuries, medical practice focused more often on blood letting than blood consumption, but the belief in the power of blood to restore and rejuvenate persisted.

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‘Vampire Therapy’ Could Reverse Aging

Blausen 0086 Blood BagLife extension is all the rage for billionaires so can we expect the likes of Larry Page and Sergey Brin to start sucking down young blood like they were actors on True Blood? The Telegraph reports that “A transfusion of youthful blood may halt or even reverse the ageing process as two studies find that the chemical make-up of younger blood has surprising health benefits”:

It may seem the stuff of gothic horror novels, but transfusions of young blood could reverse the ageing process and even cure Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists believe.

Throughout history, cultures across the globe have extolled the properties of youthful blood, with children sacrificed and the blood of young warriors drunk by the victors.

It was even rumoured that the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il injected himself with blood from healthy young virgins to slow the ageing process.

Now scientists have found that young blood actually ‘recharges’ the brain, forms new blood vessels and improves memory and learning.

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Artist Vincent Castiglia Paints With His Own Blood

PIC: Vincent Castiglia (C)

PIC: Vincent Castiglia (C)

Painting with your own blood isn’t anything new, but artist Vincent Castiglia does fantastic work. Click the link to see a gallery at Beautiful Decay. I can only imagine how difficult of a medium blood must be to work with, what with the coagulation and all. Most of his art is NSFW, but if you’re browsing Disinfo, then you probably work for a tolerant work place or are on your own time. Or just taking your chances with the IT department. (No shame – I used to.)

Via Beautiful Decay

For this blood artist, the unusual medium works in service of larger themes. In extracting blood from his own body, sometimes 15 vials at a time (less than a blood donation), he allows the literal life-giving substance to more deeply examine fertile powers of mankind. With the careful painting of milk-filled breasts and deliberate vaginal imagery, Castiglia celebrates the allegorical implications of motherhood and childbirth.

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Science Can Use Your Blood To Determine If Your Death Is Imminent

Blood testDo you really want to know that you’re about to die? If so, this test is for you. Report from GeekoSystem:

You know how you’re supposed to live life to the fullest because any moment could be your last? Turns out, science may have figured out a way to pin that time-frame down a bit for you. With new blood tests, researchers from Finland and Estonia think they can tell whether or not you’re going to live beyond the next five years.

Using a technique called NMR Spectroscopy, these researchers screened 17,000 blood samples, searching for any biomarkers that occurred frequently in the blood of people who died soon after their blood was taken. What they discovered and published in PLOS Medicine journal was that people with elevated levels of four particular biomarkers in their blood (plasma albumin, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particle size, and citrate) had a super-high chance of dying within five years.

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River Of Blood Runs Through UK After Ink Spill

bloodToday’s sign of the impending apocalypse via the Northampton Chronicle and Echo:

An large ink spillage has been identified as the cause of why a river in Northampton turning red.

Following an investigation by the Environment Agency and Anglian Water, it is believed that the waterway near to the A43 in Moulton turned red last Thursday due to a quantity of red ink.

He said: “At first I thought something had died as it looked like blood but when it was all the way along we said it must have been a whale to create that much blood.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We have worked with Anglian Water to trace the source of the red colouration through the surface water drains.

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Romanian Scientists Invent Artificial Blood

bloodPresumably to be enjoyed along with your artificial sweetener and decaff coffee, from Transylvania comes synthetic substitute blood, Medical Daily reports:

Researchers from the Transylvanian city of Romania called Cluj-Napoca announced the first-ever artificial blood that could be used without fearing life-threatening side effects of prior models.

The new artificial blood relies not on hemoglobin, like typical artificial bloods, but hemerythrin — a protein extracted from sea worms that is then mixed with water and salts. Doctors can use the artificial blood to reduce infection rates during blood donation, and to supply lost stores in patients for several hours or even up to a day, researcher Dr. Radu Silaghi-Dumitrescu says.

The research team was confident the artificial blood could find its way to clinical trials on humans within the next year or two. Silaghi-Dumitrescu claims the breakthrough could lead to “instant blood” that would come in portable containers and turn into artificial blood just with the addition of water.

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Americans Increasingly Turn To Selling Body Parts

bloodYour family might be worth more chopped up and sold for parts. Via Bloomberg:

Hair, breast milk and eggs are doubling as automated teller machines for some cash-strapped Americans. While Americans can legally sell hair, breast milk and eggs, the sale and purchase of a kidney in the U.S. is against the law.

In all but two quarters since the beginning of 2011, “hair,” “eggs,” or “kidney” have been among the top four autofill results for the Google search query, “I want to sell my…,” according to Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at New York-based ConvergEx Group.

At Shady Grove Fertility Center, which has offices in Washington, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, about 13,000 women will apply this year to be an egg donor. That’s roughly a 13 percent increase from 2012.

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Health Advice from 1500s: Stay Youthful By Sucking the Blood of the Young

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DERMATOLOGISTS HATE HIM FOR THIS ONE WEIRD OLD TRICK!

C’mon, don’t be a baby! The vein is “scarcely-opened.”

Via Ask the Past:

“There is a common and ancient opinion that certain prophetic women who are popularly called ‘screech-owls’ suck the blood of infants as a means, insofar as they can, of growing young again. Why shouldn’t our old people… likewise suck the blood of a youth? — a youth, I say who is willing, healthy, happy and temperate, whose blood is of the best but perhaps too abundant. They will suck, therefore, like leeches, an ounce or two from a scarcely-opened vein of the left arm; they will immediately take an equal amount of sugar and wine; they will do this when hungry and thirsty and when the moon is waxing. If they have difficulty digesting raw blood, let it first be cooked together with sugar; or let it be mixed with sugar and moderately distilled over hot water and then drunk.”

Marsilio Ficino, De vita libri tres (1489)

 

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Bain Capital Now Owns Majority Of Britain’s Blood Supply

blood supplyVia Alternet, a great metaphor for vampire capitalism:

Mitt Romney’s private equity company Bain Capital is in the news again, this time for buying the majority of United Kingdom’s entire blood plasma supply. The Department of Health has sold the state-owned Plasma Reources UK (PRUK) to Bain Capital for £230 million.

The deal it is raising concerns about the seemingly limitless opportunities for privatization. PRUK had been dedicated to using low contamination risk populations, and critics fear the privatization of blood plasma could prompt profit-incentivized shortcuts and a contamination of blood supply.

Former Health Minister Lord Owen wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year and urged him to stop the sale. “The world plasma supply line has been in the past contaminated and I fear it will almost certainly continue to be contaminated,” Owen wrote. “Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

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