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Scientists at Stanford University have confirmed what Vlad Dracul knew all along: a refreshing dose of young blood can put the spring back into your step.

According to science journal Nature, via Wired, the Nosferatu-inspired boffins found that blood from young mice introduced into their older counterparts "activated stem cells in the old muscles that allowed them to recover from injury". The research team reckons the discovery will have implications for work on stems cells, tissue regeneration, elderly care and spinal cord injuries.

However, we should warn readers now hungrily eyeing their fellow workers' necks that it's not quite a simple matter of donning a black cape and draining the office trainee's delicious plasma - the mice in question were genetically identical, thereby avoiding the kind of immune system anarchy which would result if you connected two humans' blood supplies together.

Furthermore, the mice had their blood supplies interconnected for six weeks - an awfully long time to spend with your chops clamped round someone's neck in the stationery cupboard. Dr Thomas Rando, Stanford University School of Medicine associate professor of neurology, explained: "It's not so much about making people live longer, but if some older person gets a broken bone or skin wound, maybe we could improve their recovery rate. Maybe there's a chance to enhance the potential of old tissues."

Sadly, this interesting research comes a little too late for Hungary's Elizabeth Bathory, the literally bloodthirsty Countess believed to have killed 612 women in order to bathe in their vital essence - a sort of 16th century equivalent of slapping on Pro-Retinol-A-packed anti-ageing creams.

Bathory's activities did not impress the authorities, who imprisoned the Countess in her own torture chamber. Incredibly, she managed to live a further three years - proof, perhaps, that her methodology was sound. We feel certain that if an inconvenient incarceration had not prematurely terminated her exciting research programme she would today hold a professorship at Stanford and be delighting academia with papers such as "Rejuvenation of aged progenitor cells by exposure to the blood of Hungarian virgins".

Speaking of which, you can find the real Stanford University abstract here. ®

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