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New issue of Stanford Medicine magazine asks, What do we know about blood?

"Blood is a very special juice."

Goethe didn't know the half of it when he penned this line for the character of Mephistopheles, in "Faust," more than 200 years ago.

In those days people believed blood held mystical qualities and was a potent life force. No wonder Mephisto wants the contract for Faust's soul signed in the stuff.

But what exactly does blood do?

The new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine tells blood’s story, from 17th-century attempts at blood transfusion to the workings of a modern blood bank to today's studies of gene therapy to treat hemophilia.

Inside the issue:

  • "Blood quest:" An article on Stanford’s early fight to prevent the spread of AIDS by screening blood - while other blood banks argued against testing.
  • "Blood, sweat and fears:" The story of a blood phobic and his attempt to conquer the surprisingly common condition.
  • "Roll up your sleeve:" An explainer on the irreplaceable resource that is human blood, and why blood donation remains so crucial.
  • "Life of blood:" A visual primer on blood cells, the most numerous cells in your body.
  • "Against the flow:" A feature on why blood transfusions are declining, and why that's good news for health.
  • "In his blood:" A look at growing up with hemophilia, featuring a physician with hemophilia who is dedicating his life to finding cures for the life-threatening disease.

This issue's "Plus" section, featuring stories unrelated to the special report, includes:

  • "Bubble girl:" A feature on a new treatment for severe combined immunodeficiency disease, also known as "bubble boy disease."
  • "A Nobel experience:" An insider's view of this year's Nobel Prize festivities.

Previously: The money crunch: Stanford Medicine magazine's new special report and The data deluge: A report from Stanford Medicine magazine
Photo by Renphoto

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