Image by Getty / Futurism
An eccentric millionaire obsessed with staying young forever has apparently taken to getting blood transfusions from his teen son — and is giving some of his own to his dad, too, for good measure.
As Bloomberg reports, 45-year-old tech entrepreneur Bryan Johnson recently took to a Dallas-area health clinic with his 17-year-old son Talmage and his 70-year-old dad Richard to engage in an intergenerational blood swap — with the elders receiving the plasma of their offspring like some sort of 21st-century vampiric ritual.
It wasn’t the first time the middle Johnson had been to a clinic to get young blood transfusions, though during those prior visits, he received the blood of an anonymous donor whose profile he’d painstakingly selected based on body mass index, blood type, diet, and overall health record. (Full disclosure: Johnson was an early investor in Futurism, though his involvement ended years ago.)
This is not, of course, Johnson’s first foray into trying to drink from the fountain of youth.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported on the tech founder’s quest to return his “brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, tendons, teeth, skin, hair, bladder, penis and rectum” to the state they were collectively in when he was 18. The ongoing endeavor costs him about $2 million per year as he employs a team of 30 doctors and specialists to advise him on how to return to his peak late teen physique.
He’s far from alone in the world of uber-wealthy youth-seekers who are, in essence, extracting the blood of the young to attain the purported age-reversing properties it’s been told to possess.
Since at least the time of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, the concept has frequently shown up in folklore. Now, some researchers are starting to suggest there might be some science to back up all this young blood business.
Some gruesome studies in mice have shown that when the younger rodents are literally stitched together to share a circulatory system, the elders do seem to have some improvements in cognition and circulation.
It’s still unclear, however, if those findings translate to humans.
In the wake of fears of a scenario like the all-too-real “blood boy” phenomenon depicted in a later season of the HBO show “Silicon Valley,” the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning back in 2019 against the practice of young blood transfusions, which it called an “unproven” therapy.
“There is no proven clinical benefit of infusion of plasma from young donors to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent these conditions, and there are risks associated with the use of any plasma product,” the FDA warned at the time.
Experts have voiced some serious doubts about the practice. Worse yet, it could be potentially harmful.
“To me, it’s gross, evidence-free and relatively dangerous,” Charles Brenner, a biochemist at City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles, told Bloomberg.
Brenner had an interesting theory as to why anybody would want to swap blood with their direct relatives.
“The people going into these clinics who want anti-aging infusions basically have an anxiety problem,” Brenner told the publication. “They have an anxiety problem about their mortality.”
All the same, Johnson defended the practice.
“We start from evidence first,” Johnson told Bloomberg from the clinic that hosted his trigenerational blood exchange. “We do nothing based on feeling.”
More on Johnson: Eccentric Wealthy Guy Spends $2 Million Per Year Staving Off Aging