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Don't Grow Old

Science series. 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.

Series exploring topical scientific issues.

For centuries scientists have been attempting to come up with an elixir of youth. Now remarkable discoveries are suggesting that ageing 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 ageing 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 ageing disease or with a self-experimenting Harvard professor?

Could one of these breakthroughs really see our lives extend past 120 years?

1 hour



Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Don’t Grow Old: Why do we Age?

    This field of study is relatively new and each of us has a different opinion of what is old; will there be an answer, or even a cure, for the ageing process?

    Duration: 04:51

  • Don’t Grow Old: Diet

    A couple are experimenting to see if a calorie restricted diet can help them live longer; an experiment that has worked on mice for over eighty years.

    Duration: 08:58

  • Don’t Grow Old: Anti-Oxidants

    Two different professors are trying to prove that oxidative stress can cause people to age. However, their findings were not what they, or the anti-oxidant businesses, hoped for.

    Duration: 08:30

  • Don’t Grow Old: Stopping the Ageing Process

    Dr Bill Andrews has worked all his life to see if it is possible to stop the ageing process. He may be one step closer after finding out what he believes to be the cause of ageing.

    Duration: 04:34

  • Don’t Grow Old: Progeria

    Josiah is 5 years old and he suffers from a premature ageing disease which may prove Bill Andrews’ theory correct, although other experts don’t agree.

    Duration: 07:31

  • Don’t Grow Old: Genes vs Lifestyle

    Studies of a certain group of long-living people examine how much the age of someone has to do with their genes, and how much it has to do with their lifestyle.

    Duration: 11:00

  • Don’t Grow Old: Thinking Yourself Young

    Professor Ellen Langer tried to determine if age was a case of mind over matter by taking a group of over 75s and forcing them to live as if it was 20 years previous to see if they acted younger.

    Duration: 09:33

  • Don’t Grow Old: Conclusions

    Is there a way to cheat the ageing process? Or does it simply come down to your genetic make-up?

    Duration: 03:30