breakthWe start to die when we are born. It is inevitable.
Breakthough: Episode Four - The Age Of Aging
Director/Narrator: Ron Howard
Interviews with Laura Deming and Dr. Brian Kennedy
Running Length: 45 Minutes
No rating given, but could be PG
We start to die when we are born. It is inevitable. To slow the aging process has been tried for who knows how long. Just read "The Picture of Dorian Gray," for one aspect. People literally "die trying." With Ron Howard as director, this episode begins with a montage of people in all stages of age, including himself. Yes, Aunt Bea is there, too.
Laura Deming, who really has schooled herself, changes the genes in tapeworms and increases longevity. Quite a step, though, to try it on humans. However, the gene pool may be involved or may not be involved, as there are 100 year old people who don't have bad health habits, and some who do (smoking and/or obesity) and still are functioning at this age. Go figure.
An example of keeping a lifelong record of one's health is shown at the Mayo Clinic Retirement Community, where two retired doctors, married to each other, share their goal of being "less sick at the end of life."  What doctors are trying to do now is to treat the aging process like a disease and in the process, other diseases (heart, diabetes) will fade. Perhaps, Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's Disease will be in this category, too. There may even be a new category of drugs.
Claire McCaskill, a U. S. senator, is interviewed as a medical group tries to get federal funding for a study on aging---with the idea that other diseases will be shortened or halted, too, along the way. The average life span in 1900 was 50 years and now in 2015, it is 80 years. In America, in the year 2050, there will be more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 15. Startling statistics. And then, there is Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel who has decided to opt out of medical treatment to extend life and just go for it. Enjoy life to the fullest.
Photography, soundtrack and production values are first rate.
"Breakthrough" is a six-part weekly series on The National Geographic Channel, Sunday evenings, beginning November 1, 2015.  This will be shown in 440 million homes, 171 countries and in 45 languages.  Each episode is on a separate breakthrough in the science and health community. The first episode was "Fighting Pandemics," and the second, "More Than Human" on robotics. Third episode is "Decoding The Brain" (Nov. 15). and now there is  "The Age of Aging" (November 29), "Energy From The Edge" (December 6) and "Water Apocalypse" (December 13) which features California conclude the series.  Each episode is either narrated or directed and narrated by a media personality including Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Adrien Brody, Ron Howard, Jason Bateman and Angela Bassett. No ratings, but some episodes could be PG 13 for visual effects such as hospital scenes.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner