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Science to Save the World – “Old” Movie Reaction - Review

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Aging is terrifying but not quite like M. Night Shymalan's version.

Can the rapid aging shown in the new M. Night Shyamalan movie OLD actually happen to you?

Welcome to Science Blast, a new series on Science to Save the World where we quickly explain where pop culture meets real science.

In the movie OLD, vacation goers suddenly find themselves aging incredibly fast, confronting not only their own mortality but each other. While critics are Split (see what I did there), it has people asking themselves “could this happen to me?”

The good news is – that while there are conditions which mimic rapid aging – like the disease progeria – caused by mutations in the cell structure protein LMN-A – or radiation damage – There doesn’t exist anything that can do to you what happens in the movie – where the entire lifecycle of growing up, maturing and then decaying happens at a vastly accelerated rate.

In fact, there has been research showing that perhaps we can move a bit in the other direction – reversing some of the negative effects of aging.

For example, a recent study where participants received a combination of human growth hormone and two anti-diabetes drugs DHEA and Metformin, showed their biological ages were reduced by an average of 2.5 years – at least as measured by a proxy metric for age called an “epigenetic clock”, a so-called “biomarker” that measures modifications to DNA through time.

More broadly, the human aging process is becoming increasingly understood through frameworks such as “The Hallmarks of Aging”, and scientists are coming close to affecting it for real – as opposed to the thousands of years of false promises and snake oil before now.

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