Alexander Bogdanov Killed Himself Trying To Become Immortal
Just how far would you go to reach the Fountain of Youth? To turn the clock back a few years, most people simply opt for anti-aging creams, or perhaps a Botox treatment here and there. In the 1920s, a Soviet physician named Alexander Bogdanov was looking for more than a facelift: he used blood transfusions in an attempt to become immortal. In a twist of true irony, the results were fatal.
Was He A Vampire?
No, Alexander Bogdanov wasn't a vampire. But according to a PubMed paper, he was the "founder of the world's first institution devoted entirely to the field of blood transfusion." Pretty close. In addition to being a physician, Bogdanov was also a propagandist for the socialist cause, an economist, a philosopher, a natural scientist, a writer of utopian science fiction, a poet, a teacher, and a politician. He also invented tektology, an organizational science that became what's now known as cybernetics. He was truly a Renaissance man, though fate would come to prove that a jack of all trades really is a master of none. While studying hematology, Bogdanov came to the conclusion that blood transfusions would be effective in extending a person's life. Every time he gave himself a transfusion, he claimed all sorts of health improvements, such as stronger muscles and increased lung capacity.
So, what happened? Welp, he eventually died from a hemolytic transfusion reaction. Despite testing the blood many times beforehand, science in the 1920s wasn't what it is today, and it would have been nearly impossible for him to detect the antibodies his body had created in his past transfusions. These antibodies would have attacked the incoming red blood cells, slowly killing him over several days.
There Might Be Something To It
While giving yourself blood transfusions for eternal life is ill-advised, recent studies have shown that Bogdanov's idea might not have been so crazy after all! In fact, blood may actually have rejuvenating properties. In a 2014 study published in Nature Medicine, researchers gave young blood plasma to aged mice and found that the transfusion actually sharpened their aging minds, both in their fear responses and their spatial learning and memory. The study went on to say that introducing young blood to mice later in life may actually improve their ability to learn and think. The quest for youth is so popular that a startup called Ambrosia is using this mouse study as the basis for a clinical trial where they'll inject volunteers with the blood of people aged 16 to 25 for the steep price of $8,000. Tempting... but we're more than happy to embrace our wrinkles. They give you character, after all.