July 19, 2010

Should We Still Age?

By Gerit Quealy

[Posted on on July 16, 2010]

Summer movies usually mean blockbusters. But the new film TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE belongs more in the realm of myth busters.

The documentary, opening today in New York and soon to a little indie movie house near you (or add it to your NetFlix queue), explores the science behind aging the and the breakthroughs that are happening, faster and faster, that lead some to believe that our life spans can be significantly extended.

So while everyone else is standing in line to see Inception, I traded in Leonardo DiCaprio for Dr. Leonard Guarente talking about the accidental discovery of the yeast gene.

I don’t know about you, but over the years I’ve found scientists more and more sexy (which would stun my high school chemistry teacher, whom I still don’t find sexy and never will). You can keep your Tom Cruises and Johnny Depps. Give me the gleaming bald pate of Dr. Guarente — like a light bulb in a dark room  –  illuminating unexpected possibilities.

That isn’t to say that I want to live to 1000, or even 100, and the film explores the  myriad facets that delaying aging and living longer, much longer, entails. “It’s huge,” witer/director Robert Kane Pappas admits to me during our brief conversation. “I had to do a sort of Cliff’s Notes to touch on everything.”

And he does; it’s a deceptively simple film that encompasses the health care system, big pharma, disease prevention, financial impact, and religion/existential questions — to wit, one of the scientists who made a breakthrough discovery has become a priest.

To read the entire article (and it’s well worth it), click here

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