Like it or not, your body gradually loses its capacity for producing blood as you age — that’s why immune deficiencies, leukemia and other blood conditions become more likely with time. Scientists may have found a way to turn back the clock, though. They’ve found a way to rejuvenate blood by reprogramming the stem cells that create it. The team effectively “resets” the stem cells by turning them into iPS cells, which can generate any kind of cell. When they once again form blood stem cells, it’s as if they were brand new.
The technique has only been tested with mice so far, but it’s very promising if it proves effective with humans. Rejuvenating enough cells could steel your body against blood disorders and otherwise improve your overall health. And even if the discovery goes nowhere, it still sheds light on how the blood system works. The findings show that aging-related changes in your blood aren’t due to mutations — if they were, you’d still see the damage after the reset. Instead, it looks like epigenetics (changes in gene expressions) are responsible.