Don't Grow Old

Don't Grow Old

2010, Science  -   54 Comments
Ratings: 7.39/10 from 28 users.

Don't Grow OldFor centuries scientists have been attempting to come up with an elixir of youth. Now remarkable discoveries are suggesting that aging is something flexible that can ultimately be manipulated.

Horizon meets the scientists who are attempting to piece together why we age and more vitally for all of us, what we can do to prevent it. But which theory will prevail?

Does the 95-year-old woman who smokes two packets of cigarettes a day hold the clue? Do blueberries really delay signs of aging or is it more a question of attitude?

Does the real key to controlling how we age lie with a five-year-old boy with an extraordinary aging disease or with a self-experimenting Harvard professor? Could one of these breakthroughs really see our lives extend past 120 years?

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54 Comments / User Reviews

  1. michael howard

    I do not believe we are aging since time does not move forward or backward. I believe that we continously ingest poisons unsuitable for the human body. Food is the one true drug that we have been taught to eat since birth, but is it really compatible with the Human system? If there is a creator, and he did in fact create us wouldn't he create a food for us to eat? what would that food be?

    1. Melissa

      We evolved eating what we had around us.

  2. Isabelle

    I didn't know lab rats were exposed to the same toxins that human are. We need to detox our bodies anyway we can find (nutrition or supplements) and also to reduce stress. When our immune system functions as it should we can fight anything. unfortunately we get overwhelmed over time...

  3. cezy

    my gran is 91, she still has a few brothers and sisters in their 90s, her mother died at 94 (not of age, but broken leg). She lives on her own, goes shopping and visits her friends across the street. She also cooks for herself, eats chocolate and does not mind a glass of wine now and again. Oh yeah, she can still bend down and touch her toes! When I ask her for her secret, she grins and replies: I look after myself. I think the last part of this documentary gets it right, it's mind over body.

    1. David T

      Oh, That was great!
      I heard that few people lived around 125 years in the recent past.

    2. Clifford William Thomas

      Not recognised and verifiably. The oldest known age is 121 and no one is within years of that at the moment. So, right now, no one has lived 125 years.

    3. Richard

      The oldest verified is 122 by Jeanne Calment (21 February 1875 - 4 August 1997)

  4. Johnny Armageddon

    On first thought, living to 150 seems amazing. Then I realize that there are almost seven billion humans infecting this planet and if we all live longer itll only hasten our entire species demise. First humanity needs to learn to live a sustainable lifestyle, only then should you worry about living a longer life.

    1. David T

      In Animal Kingdom, one preys over another.... but it does not happen in humans, so we must be extra careful not to destroy the environment.

  5. Misa Amane

    Age shouldn't really concern anyone. I mean, you're going to waste your life worrying about getting wrinkles, when worrying ACTUALLY gives you wrinkles. It's better to have a care-free life; that way, you live a long, happy and meaningful life. My only concern is becoming famous someday. I wonder if someone can actually provide a formula for having your name go down in history. That would be true immortality.

  6. Arnold Vinette

    An interesting documentary on people obsessed with either stopping the aging process or trying to understand it. I liked the scientist who was working with the centarians.

    Interestingly enough I have never been worried about aging myself because I have always looked 10 years longer then my peers. In fact trying to look older was always my biggest problem.

    And as far as acting old, the same problem has plagued me my entire life, I always have more fun hanging out with kids who are much more fun than spending time with adults who are always so darn serious, competitive and greedy.

    It was such a serious problem in my marriage that my former spouse finally divorced me out of sheer frustration that I spent more time hanging out with our kids than with her.

    So now I have found the perfect job working with kids all over the world funding art programs all over the world. Facebook pages: Ottawa Kids Artwork, Canadian Kids Artwork, American Kids Artwork, European Kids Artwork and Russian Kids Artwork. Every day I post thousands of pieces of artwork a day.

    How long will I live? to be honest I don't really care as long as I am having fun, doing what I love to do every day, funding art programs all over the world and exercising every week. Staying young has never been my problem, getting old that has been a real challenge.

    Arnold Vinette
    Ottawa, Canada

    1. Karsten Madsen

      It made me happy to read this. Im 20, and i can already feel that i sometimes forget to just have fun and worry less.

    2. Guest

      Doing art with kids is like watering flowers in a garden. We are all children within, age is seen not really felt.

      do magic with simple verbs
      Behave do give love
      we hear the soul chooses
      the cradle of its hereafter
      the envelop of its bulk
      the nest of its family
      the springboard of its forthcoming
      the target of its existence
      it is a heavy burden
      on the shoulders of a newborn
      when are we going to take children
      on a floating relation ship
      are we doing that already
      why are so many sinking desperately
      angels whisper words of wisdom
      to show us the way
      angels guide us when we loose direction
      when we loose our sense of happiness
      when we loose the courage
      to say yes when the action is right
      to say no when the reaction is wrong
      angels hide behind the eyes of a child
      at times in the words of a song
      in a beautiful landscape
      in the shape of a work of art
      angels sprinkle bits and pieces of faith
      in the heart of those who see
      listen and believe with their own light
      even in the dark of the night
      angels we are to some 1
      at 1 time or an other
      in zillions of different ways
      why wait to be dead to be an angel
      when it is possible to be alive

      a poet in her free time

    3. fit4ever

      I really liked what you said vinette, after all anybody whether it is author,doctor,engineer,farmer, child, young, old everybody wants to have fun life. And i'm glad you are living that moment.

    4. Misa Amane

      I don't think getting older necesseraly means losing life. I think that as long as you're happy having fun with whoever, that's all that life is really about. Keep it up!! XD


  7. Yanis Vergos

    ? wanna survive up to 160 years?
    Or you want to live?
    your choice of course.
    the doc is really boring for someone under 44

  8. Robert M

    A good start I think, mind is over matter, or matter is mind. This documentary does well to start the path to youth over, but I think still has a ways to go. To be young, laugh. To be healthy, exercise. To live long, you should keep the brain going strong always.

    Think of the brain as a muscle that needs exercise, not just in the youth of our school but to learn the same every day as the day before and more. This will lead to youth and wisdom together. And in this way such problems as you say food shortages and dis-ease will soon also become a thing of the past. God if you like can help. But no single one can be a god. Only all together are we of.

    The aging population should not need taking care of, but could do well with motivation to keep learning. It makes you young again ;) Oh and always laugh!

  9. Guest

    What if death was a real cool wall to go through, just like birth was. Although birth must have been painful, may be death of whatever 1 was before was less painful than the birth. So what if instead of trying to postpone death until death, 1 prepared for it the way 1 gets ready for a long trip. What if 1 got excited to die knowing 1 doesn't know what's next. Just the same way 1 person would get excited to go to Africa for the first time, specially if that person didn't know any other 1 who has ever been there (which was my case). 1 packs bags, image in, gets fit for the treck, goes to the airport, enters the plane and takes off....toward an unexpected unfolding.
    No 1 knows what was before, no 1 knows was is is as simple as that.
    So why not write 1's own death sentence with a scenario that fits the actor!

    i understand being alone at the moment
    neither in front of sure death
    nor in front of undivided love
    you may be puzzled the size of a pixel whit
    if you trust there is a period to an i
    preceded by many comas
    you will know what's important
    the experiences of my life have forced me
    to question myself in very rewarding ways
    how can 1 stay in the present continuously
    is 1 central question i have in my mind
    at all moments of the day
    to remain current in the flow of my ideas
    is an unusual school of discoveries
    keeping my ship tidy is an exercise
    a great way to exhaust too much energy
    a marvelous way to gain some
    it permits silence while allowing to plan
    the next fertile row towards the end
    of the beginning
    1 can die from the hit of lightening
    1 can live from the hit of enlightenment
    so why be afraid of dying
    let us be afraid of not living

    a poet in her free time

    1. Ramus73

      Errr....... Is there some1 that looks after you?

    2. Guest

      of myself and i...we are all together in this!
      I thought i'd edit this one and add....i buy second hand everything, i caretake houses which i consider recycling space for a period of time, i give more than i take, i love more than i dislike, i am detached from owning much, i let people borrow what i have when not in use and i think about being the best i can as a constant but i do catch myself racing off in the wrong direction like a child living by a highway!

    3. Guest

      to tell you the truth, i don't quite know what you mean, although six other people seem to be clued in. Care to explain? You may not like my wouldn't be the first.
      az easy

    4. Guest

      might as well put mine too...Errrr.
      Still curious to know what that means, clue me in!

    5. Ramus73

      Crazy people need looking after.... It's a common jibe here in England, I guess it hasn't found it's way over to Canada yet then :) Take it ez az

    6. Guest

      I take being crazy as a compliment, there is enough bored and boring people out there. We do have a lot of artistic people in Nelson BC and yes the best weed in the Koots...check it out! As you say some things have not reached my french brain yet, while others have made it bloom.
      Boum Ba Da Boum!

    7. PaulGloor

      I think the majority of us have come to terms with death whether poetic, or in fear. Its gonna happen at some point. Why rush it, death can wait till I'm good and ready.

    8. Guest

      I am not talking of rushing anything, i am suggesting to live without worrying about the after, i am suggesting there may be a different way to approach that takes care of the livingS and i suppose death will do the same!

    9. Guest do we even know we are alive *as we know it*. When i am awake, i am boxed in a body that is very limited, when i am asleep the box opens and all of a sudden i become illimited. Am i really a body or the free spirit that dreams my life away!

    10. Ramus73

      Hey, I'm just messing with you, I'm normally only artistic after I smoked a big bag of weed :)

    11. Guest

      You must not have good weed if you need that much!
      A little messing with is always good, look at the 6 thumbs up.

    12. cezy


    13. Guest

      Will that be easier for you to under stand?
      I was playing with 1 the way people play with you.

      What if death was a real cool wall to go through, just like birth was. Although birth must have been painful, may be death of whatever you were before was less painful than the birth. So what if instead of trying to postpone death until death, you prepare for it the way you get ready for a long trip. What if you got excited to die knowing you don't know what's next. Just the same way you would get excited to go to Africa for the first time, specially if you didn't know personnaly any others who have ever been there (which was my case). You pack bags, imagine, get fit for the treck, go to the airport, enters the plane and takes off....toward an unexpected unfolding.
      You don't know what was before, you don't know was is is as simple as that.
      So why not write your own death sentence with a scenario that fits the actor!

      1 and i = you in many stories.
      In mine i like to talk from the 1 dot on my shoulder, the i ....just for the fun of living!

    14. cezy

      ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
      trafitto da un raggio di sole
      ed é subito sera

      Everyone stands alone on the core of the earth
      pierced by a ray of sun
      and it's suddenly night.

      S. Quasimodo

    15. Guest

      Poems have been the squizzed juice of thoughts for eons.

      copied this one to my friend in Zihuatanejo Mexico owner of Rincon del Viajero...Mali is also a poet and a painter.

    16. cezy

      thanks... but I cannot take credit for it! A poet from my hometown, Salvatore Quasimodo wrote it (and won a nobel prize for his poetry!)
      Never been to Zihuatanejo, It looks like heaven...maybe one day I'll pay a visit toyour friend.

    17. Guest taught me one thing today..never heard of Quasimodo before(at least not that 1) i am a little be more aware!
      Mali is the owner of the best hostel in Zihua...a truly great person, beautiful in and out...and you should see the garden in this fantastic hostel. Rated #1 by Lonely Planet. Rated #1 by me! Her profile on Facebook is Malinalli Hostal Rincon Viajero. Mali speaks Italian and many other language, she comes out as a goddess on a hard back-packing trek.

  10. tariqxl

    Should the average person live to 120 (at least), the world population would increase and age. Not good considering we already need to increase farming output by 50% and the amount of deforestation we reek on this planet is epic in scale. And immortality sounds cool but we would all have to agree never to reproduce, all being fair, who's to say we're the generation that says no new personalities should ever be created.

    games theorists say that if you know every conceivable factor you can predict the future.... True, unless you count the unpredictable nature of intelligent life. Even unintelligent life shapes seemingly unchanging and predictable states, like bacteria that consumes rock converting it into soil and algae that converts the gases we breath... natural terraforming. Death plays an important part in all of that too.

    Imagine the damage that 1 person can do in 80 years of live... now add 50% to that persons life cycle. The good this person could do is only really good for his/her existance or for his/her species not generally the ecosystems surrounding. Like it or not we have a duty to future generations and future species, we are duty bound to die. We should turn our attention away from selfish persuits to better sciences, to see how comfortable we can make the earth for ALL life rather than just our own.

    Peace out.

    1. Phillip Thomas

      Yours is the most eloquent and well thought of all the comments for this documentary. I have a question for you, though.
      Given the possibility of immortality being present among simple creatures such as hydra and jellyfish, is it not arguable that this absence of age related death for an entire species could be extended to more complex creatures, especially if it was a gradual process?

    2. PaulGloor

      I agree that artificially extended life or even biological immortality would create an overpopulation problem. But also, not everyone wants to live forever. One could argue mandatory sterilization after a maximum of 2 children if someone opts for life extension.
      I personally wanna live forever, or at least long enough to get bored of living and make a serious, positive impact on the future if I can along the way and have no problems with that idea.
      When time is on your side, the rush and bustle that we go through now that ultimately damages the environment will fade away to patience and contemplation as we realize we have the time to achieve most anything.

    3. Tipsy

      Even a sterilization after 2 children would create issues, especially if the kids were raised as "Mommy's going to live forever, don't you want to, too?"

      I wish I could subscribe to your way of thinking that the rush of getting things done would go away with the option of a longer life, but I think that your train of thought is too idealized, particularly in respects to the giant companies. Their profits are already quite massive, but they still try to skirt as many environmental regulations as they can, because that takes a chunk out of profits. For instance, Nike made $457 million in 2010. If we could all suddenly live longer, I don't think they'd shrug and say, "Hey, y'know, now that we're living twice as long, I don't mind settling for 400 million."

      And personally, I want to die when I'm all used up. I don't want to outlive my friends and family. I don't want to see all the mistakes that people are making. I don't want to know what will happen when people run out of oil, when A.I. goes too far, or when a concrete result is found in the science/religion debate. I hope I'm long dead before any of that even starts to show up, although I doubt it at this rate.

      Don't get me wrong, I love life. I love waking up in the morning to feel the sun, I love doing my job, I love being with my friends and family. I even love the slow points, like cleaning the cat's litterbox. But really, I don't want to go through a century of it. When my time comes, I'm sure I'll be emotionally and physically ready for it to happen.

  11. Dutch Major

    If people had to work a fulltime job earning just enough to get by for 1000years...i think people might start to think change is needed and simply owning your own home is the peak of your lifes financial achievments.After all watching some rich dude site ontop of your back, getting most the rewards from your work and you getting the scraps for 1000years aint going to be fun.So obviously living longer gives oportunity to advance one's inteligence and most importantly LEARN from their mistakes and as a society mistakes of history, rather then just repeating them every bloody century over and over like everyone has a memory defect.After all if what you do will suck big time in 200 years and your going to be alive to reap the s*** you might start to reconsider your actions. Not to mention a few hundred years people might actually learn politicians are shit talkers and regardless who you vote nothing changes for the better...hell they might actually discover people create change, not the government.Ceasing the effects of ageing doesnt mean you wont die, after all if you strap your arse to a nuke and let it not sure how your going to be alive anymore lol...unless the technology to copy/save your mind into a clone in the evnt of your main body and mind getting destroyed....even then your clone and mental data could be destroyed its impossible to live forever...but you could possibly live almost indefinately with the corect technology.I woudlnt expect people to live over a thousand years if suddenly everyone could today, im sure accidents and killing each other would stop msot getting taht far...we arent at a civilised point were we could truly reap the benefits of living hundreds of years, but they certainly would help us in our current situation.

  12. Arif Karim

    Science trying to defy death and aging :D

  13. Lark Malark

    One could argue that death is what makes life worthless. We are all going to die so there is not much point in improving yourself.

  14. jilted_generation

    Right ... Let's all imagine an immortal Rockerfeller.

    One might say, why not imagine an immortal Einstein (One weapon of mass destruction is enough thank you).

    Death is what makes life valuable, and it's what makes us evolve in terms of society, mentality etc.

    "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing it's oponents and making them see the light, but rather becouse it's opponents eventually die" (M. Plank)

    1. AddaW

      Death isn't necessery for improving society.
      You could look at your example, and also say, well imagine what great things Einstein could have accomplished if he wasn't stopped by his death (and mind degradation which came with aging). It is tragic that every time someone dies, the vast knowledge and skills that person has collected dissapears too. And it isn't truth that people in general are unable of changing their minds. One of the characteristics of any good scientist is being able to adapt your worldview.

      People don't get motivated through life with fact they'll surely die and there is nothing about shorter life that would make it inherently more valueable then longer one.

      So quit rationalizing death.

    2. Guest

      U are absolutely right. Death means the end of ones body, but its spiritual element never dies.

    3. jilted_generation

      "It is tragic that every time someone dies, the vast knowledge and skills that person has collected dissapears too"

      When someone dies, facts dissapear, speculation steps in. I could go further with this and say that I BELIEVE the universe wastes nothing. Nothing dies, everything is transformed (Even in the case of black holes, which was believed proves that information is lost forever, relatively recent postulations such as the event horizon of a black hole proves information is not lost even in such ... well ... dark places.)

      "And it isn't truth that people in general are unable of changing their minds. One of the characteristics of any good scientist is being able to adapt your worldview."

      I couldn't agree more, tho if you check historic and present discoveries you see that's not how things work.

      "People don't get motivated through life with fact they'll surely die and there is nothing about shorter life that would make it inherently more valueable then longer one."

      You don't really believe this do you ?
      Think you have 48 hours left to live.Wouldn't it make your remaining hours inherently more valueable then ?. Apply this globally. Think people only live 30 years as a medium life span. Our priorities, morals, laws and culture would be entirely diffrent.