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Blood plasma

Plasma donation holds a degree of misplaced benevolence

Monday, August 01, 2011 by: Prof. Karl West
Tags: blood plasma, donation, health news

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(NewsTarget) The facts about plasma donation should give one reason to pause, to independently investigate, and to reassess the widely acclaimed safety and benevolence of this industry. A variety of roles or services performed by the albumin plasma proteins in particular underscores the actual value of your blood plasma in maintaining your health. Yet, we can find other reasons to doubt even the virtues of the industry's plasma donation.

Unfortunately, nearly all exogenous plasma is highly degraded before it is ever used "to save life", making its usefulness very limited to the recipient's body (and for only a very short time). Additionally, though the product is still useful in emergency medical applications, it's made toxic (as if that helps).

Once people donate their plasma, it is "sterilized" at high temperatures for ten hours until it loses most of its original specifications and abilities. According to Kenneth Seaton, its use in attempts to restore albumin levels in patients commonly results in more harm than good. The mortality and morbidity rate is often higher in those treated with albumin [Mortality 39% verses. 27%, morbidity 89% verses 77%] [Arch Surg 1990; 125: 739-742].

Moreover, the preparations available for clinical use invariably contain dimers, higher oligomers, and polymers. What effect these may have on the subsequent therapeutic effectiveness has not been evaluated. Although the stability of albumin permits extended storage, further degradation may occur at this time. Here too, the presence of unstable polymers detectable after prolonged shelf life may be accompanied by proportionate derangement of in vivo characteristics [JAMA 1977; 237: 355-360].

Apparently, albumin in its purest and most able form can only be produced by our very own liver, secreted precisely and timely into the blood at the correct point and time, delicately balanced with a level of the hundred other complex proteins in the serum.

Every denatured albumin molecule is immediately thrown out by the liver; this vital organ must tightly control the level and quality of albumin because there is only so much osmotic room for particulates in the blood. Alas, every antibody, acute phase protein, any viral matter, every particulate must be quantified for optimal pressures throughout the blood circulatory system. Any bad or foreign albumin molecule is usually retired immediately, at which time it is quickly broken down into simple, clean amino acids again.

A donor gets paid about $100 for the amount for which the medical field profits $5,000.00. At the very least, donors should receive better compensation in return for this sacrifice. Regular donors should be given something more in return for donating their plasma then just a few dollars.

In summary, there are so many variables that it becomes quite impossible for anyone to know the real cost of donating plasma, in relation to longevity and quality of life. So how on earth - given the variety of differences in each person's body and in the incredible number of services albumin is designed to perform - can any medical professional really know if someone is safe doing plasma donation simply by measuring the plasma or vital signs?

Our educational institutions seem to understand that the greater the inequality in education among the general public and those who graduate with formal degrees in medicine, the more money seems to be made by the medical graduates and consequently for them. Upon closer examination we are likely to find even more reasons not to submit ourselves to further medical experimentation.

Sources include:
All About Albumin, Academic Press, 1996
Arch Surg 1990; 125: 739-742
J. Luetscher, Physiol. Rev. 1947, 27, 621-642
JAMA 1977; 237: 355-360

About the author

Prof. Karl West is the current President of the International Academy of Lymphology; originally founded by Dr. C. Samuel West.
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