Although systemic diseases take the biggest toll on human health and well-being, increasingly, a failing brain is the arbiter of a death preceded by a gradual loss of the essence of being. Ageing, which is fundamental to neurodegeneration and dementia, affects every organ in the body and seems to be encoded partly in a blood-based signature. Indeed, factors in the circulation have been shown to modulate ageing and to rejuvenate numerous organs, including the brain. The discovery of such factors, the identification of their origins and a deeper understanding of their functions is ushering in a new era in ageing and dementia research.
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I would like to thank T. Montine at Stanford University for his critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US National Institute on Aging (AG045034).
T.W.-C. is scientific adviser to and founder of Alkahest Inc., a company developing blood-based treatments to increase health span.
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Reviewer Information Nature thanks F. Gage, M. Mattson and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Wyss-Coray, T. Ageing, neurodegeneration and brain rejuvenation. Nature 539, 180–186 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature20411
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