BARBARA WALTERS REPORTS: "LIVE TO BE 150... CAN YOU DO IT?," AN ABC NEWS SPECIAL AIRING TUESDAY, APRIL 1
Beyond Conventional Diet and Exercise, How Can You Add Decades and Decades to Your Life?
Whether 20, 40, 60 or 80 years old, people of all ages are in search of the fountain of youth.
A new special from Barbara Walters and ABC News, "Live to Be 150... Can You Do It?" reports that the quest to find the elusive answers to living longer and staying younger are closer than ever. "' Live to Be 150... Can You Do It?' goes beyond the nips and tucks, botox and exercise to the cutting edge of science," says Walters. "The hour is filled with the medical and emotional advances that will hopefully enable us to live longer." From a potential breakthrough pill to controversial rejuvenation technologies, Walters reports on what the future may hold, as well as what one expert says is the only proven way to extend life. The special also explores secrets to aging gracefully and living life to its fullest, from 83-year-old actor turned race car driver Paul Newman to a group of centenarians. Additionally, "Live to Be 150... Can You Do It?" examines the potential implications to a longer life � from sex to money to power � are there pitfalls? The special airs TUESDAY, APRIL 1 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.
"I think that within the next few decades, we have a pretty good chance of effectively defeating aging as a cause of death," says Dr. Aubrey DeGrey, a respected and controversial expert on the biology of aging. But if the keys to living a long, healthy life are not found soon, some people will rely on cryogenics � chemically preserving one's body at very low temperatures in hope of one day being brought back to life.
The Science of Aging: We all know that drinking red wine is good for you, but according to Dr. David Sinclair, a founder of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals and a professor at Harvard Medical School, a person would have to consume 1000 bottles a day to realize the benefits. Dr. Sinclair tells Walters: "I think we've passed the turning point in our understanding of the aging process." He believes he has uncovered one of the genetic keys that will re-set our biological clocks and control aging. He says he has created a "miracle" pill, Resveratrol, not yet on the market, that will have the same effect of 1000 bottles of red wine daily. Is this too good to be true?
Also, how close are we to using rejuvenation technology to regenerate body parts? Walters speaks with one of the world's top stem cell and cloning specialists, Dr. Robert Lanza. Although it might sound like science fiction, he says that "someday, if you get into an auto accident, we'll just take a skin cell and grow you up a new kidney... cells could, in the future, replace almost any part of the body." Walters also speaks with Dr. Doris Taylor from the University of Minnesota's heart disease research lab, who shows how she grew a new rat's heart from stem cells.
Actions Today: Are there any shortcuts to a long life? As Walters reports, some people believe they have the answer in a calorie-restrictive diet. They weigh and measure every morsel of food they put in their bodies � and consume 30% fewer calories than the average American. These calorie-restrictors claim they have incredible energy and improved eyesight and memory. Renowned gerontologist Dr. Robert Butler, himself an active 81, says a calorie-restrictive diet is the only proven way to extend life in animals. "In almost every animal species it has increased life significantly. If you reduce by about 30%, you get 30 additional percent of life," he tells Walters.
And what about the human growth hormone HGH, controversial for its supposed anti-aging properties? Or a personalized plan of vitamins and supplements -- some people are taking 150 pills a day. Do these techniques work?
Aging Gracefully: How can you grow old gracefully? Viewers might learn something from legendary movie star Paul Newman, now 83. He tells Walters that his passion for racing is one of the main elements that keep him going strong. And despite recent rumors of illness, when we met up with him last fall on the racetrack, he showed no signs of slowing down.
Sex is one ingredient that keeps 76-year-old model Carmen living a good life. As the oldest working fashion model, she tells Walters about some of the beauty secrets that keep her looking and feeling great in her 70's... including sex, exercise and attitude.
Reaching 100: "Live to Be 150... Can You Do It?" brings a group of centenarians together to learn the secrets of their remarkable longevity and to clear up misconceptions about living to 100. From one woman who's still driving to a man who plays the sax at a nightclub to another woman who's dating a younger man (94), they are all active and living life to its fullest.
Implications of Aging: Living to 100-plus raises numerous social and economic questions: Will a longer life be spent with one partner? Or two? Or three? What about sex? Who will have the power � young or old? What about inheritance? What will people do with all that extra time? Stephen Dubner, co-author of the book Freakonomics, helps sort out the possibilities.
"Live to Be 150... Can You Do It?" is produced by Rob Wallace. David Sloan is executive producer.