Blood of world's oldest woman hints at limits of life

Blood of world's oldest woman hints at limits of life

The analysis of the blood of a woman who died at the age of 115, hints that our lifespan might ultimately be limited by the capacity for stem cells to keep replenishing tissues day in day out:

"In van Andel-Schipper's case, it seemed that in the twilight of her life, about two-thirds of the white blood cells remaining in her body at death originated from just two stem cells, implying that most or all of the blood stem cells she started life with had already burned out and died."


"The other evidence for the stem cell fatigue came from observations that van Andel-Schipper's white blood cells had drastically worn-down telomeres – the protective tips on chromosomes that burn down like wicks each time a cell divides. On average, the telomeres on the white blood cells were 17 times shorter than those on brain cells, which hardly replicate at all throughout life."

We know better than most, how essential the generation of healthy blood cells is to a healthy life...


Photo shows a Royal Spoonbill taken during the mating season. That glorious plume sadly disappears when the mating season is over.

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  • Speaking of blood, in the Washington Post today, and in other American newspapers, the following article appeared based on two journal articles just published in the prestigious journal "Science":

    Basically, the article states that if you infuse "young blood" from young mice into "old mice", the mice are re-invigorated and show signs of reversal of the aging process. So you see, all we need is a good supply of young people. :-)

  • Very interesting, Neil. And a lovely photo - is it a spoonbill? Well done posting this from your hospital bed... Is your hand any better today?


    P.S. Very interesting about the mice too, Zevkalman. Bit spooky and science fictiony though...

  • My hand is about the same; thanks for asking. This morning I had the challenge of the IV drip playing up, so the 2 hours infusion was considerably extended while I sought the best position to keep it running. Meanwhile they presented me with breakfast, took a blood sample from the other arm and wondered why I hadn't managed to eat my breakfast...

    Good practice for treatment I guess!

  • Feel better, mate.

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