• By Bob Nellis

Mayo Clinic Featured on National Geographic “Breakthrough” Series

November 23, 2015

“The universal fascination and anxiety that we all feel around this subject is what gives it its power.” - Ron Howard, director of Breakthrough - The Age of Aging

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How to age but keep your health? Can science reverse aging? Those are just two of the questions Oscar-winning director Ron Howard will investigate when he hosts the documentary series Breakthrough on the National Geographic channel on Sunday November 29, 9 pm EST/8 pm CST. The segment focuses on Mayo Clinic’s Kogod Center on Aging and features gerontology researcher James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D.

The production team spent a week on Mayo’s Rochester, Minnesota campus last spring, interviewing researchers, physicians and residents of retirement communities about optimal ways to make the most out of one’s later years. Expect to hear about possible aging interventions at the cellular level and what that may mean for lifespan and “healthspan.”

Download and view a segment of the program on Mayo research.

Aging is the leading risk factor for most chronic diseases, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, dementia, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, blindness and frailty. Research discoveries being made at the Mayo Clinic Kogod Center on Aging suggest that aging may actually be a modifiable risk factor — aging doesn't have to increase the risk of disease and disability.

MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Nellis, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: newsbureau@mayo.edu

“We are focused on delaying the aging process as a whole, as opposed to tackling individual age-related diseases,” says Dr. Kirkland. “While we believe that providing care and cures for individual diseases is important, we believe that we can have a transformational impact by ultimately delaying the aging process.”

Recent research has demonstrated the possibility of removing aged or senescent cells from the body may eliminate or forestall some of the characteristics associated with aging, ranging from muscle weakness to heart disease. So far the research has been solely in animals, but Howard will ask the question of how long it will take before anti-aging treatments may be part of medicine.

The Age of Aging is one of six episode in the series and the only one directed and hosted by Howard, whose directing credits include the films Cocoon, Apollo 13, and A Beautiful Mind, for which he won an Academy Award.

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