The Spirits in Blood

August 27, 2010 at 9:23 am

By Billie Rubin, Hemoglobin’s Catabolic Cousin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center

Back in 1668 when there were a few experiments of blood transfusions from sheep into humans, the reason for doing this wasn’t that sheep were plentiful or made good blood donors (no malaria travel), but they thought that the blood from a gentle creature might quiet the “tempestuous spirit of an agitated person.” You probably know one of those people that could use some sheep blood…

It was also thought that the shy might be made more outgoing by the blood of more sociable creatures…dogs probably, high spirited ones like Chihuahuas and Golden Retrievers. Their donor history questions might have gone something like this: “When was the last time you bit anyone?” “Do you have a history of rabies or heart worms?” “Have you received any vaccinations against parvo?” “Do you feel well today, any kennel cough?” Woof!