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Science
FRONTIERS
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Wednesday 21:00-21:30
Frontiers explores new ideas in science, meeting the researchers who see the world through fresh eyes and challenge existing theories - as well as hearing from their critics. Many such developments create new ethical and moral questions and Frontiers is not afraid to consider these.
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Listen to 09 May
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Wednesday 09 May 2007
Elderly couple on bench

LONGEVITY

In the first of a new series of Frontiers, Peter Evans discusses new research into the study of ageing and longevity which could have profound implications for human life and health.

Researchers have shown that simple genes control ageing in organisms like fruit flies and nematode worms. They can be switched on or off to increase their lifespan by as much as six times. Similar genes are also found in humans.

Ageing is the biggest risk factor for many major diseases: cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and neurodegeneration. Could it be that instead of being separate diseases, they are all manifestations of a single ageing process controlled by our genes?

Peter Evans hears from the researchers who are unlocking the genetic routes to ageing to develop drugs which can mimic their life extending properties or block their disease causing affects.

These drugs they hope in the future will prevent some of the biggest killers of the Western World and could even extend human lifespan by as much as ten or twenty years.
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