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CNN PRESENTS

CNN Presents: 'In Search Of The Fountain Of Youth'

Aired November 9, 2003 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN CENTER, ATLANTA: I'm Carol Lin from the CNN Center in Atlanta. CNN PRESENTS is next, but first I've got these headlines at this hour.
Government sources say Saudi security officials are expecting another terrorist attack to come at any time. This after at least 17 people were killed in an attack in Riyadh last night.

Sources say thousands of Saudi troops have been deployed in the holy city of Mecca to provide additional security until Ramadan is over.

Another U.S. soldier has died in Iraq. It happened last night in Baghdad when a roadside bomb ripped through a convoy. Another soldier was wounded.

Three hundred ninety-seven U.S. troops have now died since the war in Iraq began. And, please, stay tuned.

Also, Israel's cabinet has narrowly approved the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to the West Bank and Gaza. In exchange, Israel would gain the release of a kidnapped Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers held by Hezbollah guerillas in Lebanon. The cabinet says no prisoners accused of killing Israelis would be released.

Stay tuned at CNN - for CNN SUNDAY NIGHT at 10 Eastern tonight. I'm going to be talking with the former Secretary of State Madeline Albright about the crisis in the Middle East, including the terrorist attack in Riyadh. That's at 10 Eastern.

More headlines at the bottom of the hour. CNN PRESENTS starts right now.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Poor Ponce de Leon. He had to search for the fountain of youth without the use of Botox or surgery or photo facials or microdermabrasion or $100 youth serums or beauty consultants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not unusual today to start doing your first facelift in your late 30s and early 40s. It's very common.

COHEN: A facelift in my late 30s?

But you - you can have all these things. It's called the anti- aging revolution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looking old is now becoming abnormal. It's almost considered a disease. It's no longer a natural stage of life.

COHEN: Join us for the next hour as we explore America's search for the fountain of youth. A grandfather gets Botox. A woman flies to Jamaica to get an anti-aging procedure that's not approved in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amazing. Oh, my God.

COHEN: We'll show you before-and-after pictures, and how scientists are looking into our DNA to find the secrets of aging. Do you want to be a part of this revolution? Or have we all gone just a little too far?

You decide as CNN PRESENTS "The Fountain of Youth."

AARON BROWN, HOST, CNN PRESENTS: Lipo and Botox injections. Implants, lifts, tucks. From head to toe we are quickly becoming a society bent on doing whatever it takes to turn back the clock.

Welcome to CNN PRESENTS. I'm Aaron Brown.

Over the counter, at the gym or under the knife, the war on wrinkles is on. No one, it seems, wants to look their age anymore.

But why? Why are we so obsessed with fighting the inevitable? Are a few well-earned lines really that horrible?

For many the answer is clearly yes. From cosmetic surgery to cutting-edge pharmaceuticals, we are in the midst of an anti-aging revolution, a multi-billion dollar quest for that elusive fountain of youth.

Here's CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Remember when grandma used to look like a grandma? All gray hair and generous waistline?

Well now, grandma wears a halter top, and has a personal trainer.

LYN HANSBERGER, YOUTHFUL GRANDMOTHER: One expression I really don't like is people who say, well, at our age we can't - and I would say, why not?

COHEN: Meet the Hansbergers. We're not going to tell you their age just yet. We want you to guess and pretend you don't know they're grandparents. As we searched from Atlanta to New York to the resorts of Jamaica for people who were trying to beat the aging clock, the Hansbergers won hands down.

How do they do it? They fully devote themselves to the mission of looking young and staying healthy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five more? LYN HANSBERGER: I do four days of weights and about six days of some kind of cardiovascular exercise. And I feel better now than I did 30 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abs taught?

COHEN: Jim, a stockbroker, lifts weights every other day and runs long distances, as many as 35 miles a week.

JIM HANSBERGER, YOUTHFUL GRANDFATHER: It's those habits that ultimately put you on some kind of path to the fountain of youth. You most definitely can stall the clock or even reverse it.

COHEN: Both are very strict about their diets, picking the bacon off their salads, leaving the burgers and the milkshakes to the grandchildren.

JIM HANSBERGER: It's more yummy than what I'm eating, I can tell you that.

LYN HANSBERGER: Once you start eating like this, you can wear cute clothes and feel good about yourself. And just because you're getting older, it doesn't mean you have to not look good for your age.

COHEN: And to help Mother Nature along, Lyn and Jim have had some cosmetic work done. They won't say what, but they say they're not embarrassed. It's all part of their effort to feel good about themselves as they get older.

JIM HANSBERGER: There's nothing on earth that says the day has to come, though, that you have to look your age. My plan today is to never feel the age or look the age.

COHEN: So, how old do you think they are? Lyn is 56 and Jim is 58. This summer they celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary.

LYN HANSBERGER: Happy anniversary, honey.

JIM HANSBERGER: Happy anniversary, Lyn.

LYN HANSBERGER: I wonder how you're going to look in 35 years.

COHEN: The anti-aging revolution has been brought to us by people like the Hansbergers - the baby boomers. Now in their 40s and 50s, the boomers aren't taking aging sitting down.

In the last decade, the number of people getting facelifts has shot up 84 percent, forehead lifts up 176 percent, surgery to make eyes look younger, up 91 percent. Cosmeceuticals - a cross between drugs and cosmetics - are now a $3.2 billion industry, and expected to reach nearly $5 billion in three years.

LYNNE LUCIANO, SOCIAL HISTORIAN: Looking old is now becoming abnormal. It's almost considered a disease. It's no longer a natural stage of life.

COHEN: Lynne Luciano is a social historian who studies image and aging in America.

LUCIANO: Plastic surgeons themselves have had a lot to do with this. They have mounted a calculated marketing campaign to legitimize looking good.

Once you embark on that path, it's a very insidious path. It's very hard to get off of. And you find yourself drawn deeper and deeper. It's like entering a dark woods.

COHEN: Luciano found from researching old medical journals, that just a few decades ago, people didn't start getting anti-aging procedures until they were in their 50s or 60s.

LUCIANO: And that's because our idealized vision of what we should look like is progressively getting younger. Now people are urged by their plastic surgeons to start worrying about facelifts by the time they're 40.

Stop it before it starts. Stop the damage in its tracks.

COHEN: A facelift at age 40? I just couldn't believe it. So I decided to fly to New York City and visit a well-known beauty consultant. People from all over the United States and Europe pay Wendy Lewis $250 an hour to get anti-aging advice.

Now, I'm not even 40. Let's see if she thinks I need to start worrying about looking older.

Hi. It's so nice to meet you.

It was worse than I thought.

Wendy, I'm 37 years old. If I came to you, would you recommend any anti-aging treatments for me?

Boy, did she ever. She told me I should be spending thousands of dollars a year. First of all, she wanted me to get Botox every three to four months.

WENDY LEWIS, BEAUTY CONSULTANT: Botox on the upper face. The classic areas would be the forehead, the crow's feet and the glabella, that little crease between the brow. You have the beginning of what we call a nasal-labial crease.

COHEN: And then she recommended that I get another shot twice a year. It's called the filler, because it fills in the folds in your face.

Now, keep in mind here, I'm not old.

LEWIS: Microdermabrasion is a great option, especially for younger women.

COHEN: And then, once a month or two, a new kind of facial called microdermabrasion. It's like sandblasting for your face.

LEWIS: So your grand anti-aging total ...

COHEN: Nine thousand four hundred dollars. Wow! I'm going to spend almost $10,000 a year to look younger, and I'm only 37?

LEWIS: But, Elizabeth, you only have one face. Look at it as an investment in your beauty future. We'll start in the hairline, all the way down ...

COHEN: And, yes, she did tell me that I should get that facelift when I hit my 40s, and surgery on my upper eyelids - to the tune of $20,000.

Is there something sad about this?

LEWIS: It's a fact of life. I mean, whether we like it or not, I think reality dictates that we live in a very youth-oriented society.

COHEN: But even Lewis warns against getting too hooked on the fountain of youth.

LEWIS: I have clients where I've got to say, you know what? It's enough. It's time to slow down.

I think if you start doing a lot of surgeries at an early age, you start looking older instead of younger, because it looks like you've had work done.

COHEN: Still, Lewis says sometimes she's recommended anti-aging treatments, although not surgery, to people in their late 20s.

LEWIS: If we're targeting people to start worrying in their 20s, about their faces and their frown lines, where is this going to go in 10 or 20 years? Where does it stop?

COHEN: When I got back from my trip to see Wendy Lewis, I started to think, if you get Botox in your 20s or 30s, are you then doing it for the rest of your life?

And then what happens when your body starts to sag? Do you have to nip and tuck so that your body matches your face? Once you get on that anti-aging bandwagon, can you ever get off?

When CNN PRESENTS continues ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had Botox here. I have filler all around my lips.

COHEN: The anti-aging remedies at a strip mall - reasonably priced and ready to sell.

Plus, later in this show, we'll ask the million dollar question - do they work?

We'll show you those before-and-after pictures.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COHEN: Quick. Think of the typical person who gets a facelift. Probably you thought of the classic stereotype, often portrayed in the movies - white, female, rich, spoiled, very Beverly Hills.

GOLDIE HAWN, ACTOR: Well, what do you call that? And these? What are these?

ROB REINER, ACTOR: Well, what ...

HAWN: Huh?

REINER: ... you're 45. You know, if I give you one more facelift, you're going to be able to blink your lips.

COHEN: Well, you and Hollywood are wrong. Look at the people who showed up at a mall in Atlanta to learn more about Botox.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a smile line that's driving me crazy. And every year they drive me more crazy.

COHEN: There were black people, white people, lots of men. And as for rich, the average salary of someone getting a facelift today is around $30,000 to $40,000.

LUCIANO: The masses have not, until fairly recently, been able to afford this. Everybody is getting on the bandwagon. All ages, all income levels, all ethnicities.

This started as a phenomenon of older, well-to-do, largely white people, and it's spreading to everybody.

COHEN: And this would be the epitome. An anti-aging megastore in a strip mall.

ILONA SOLOMON, OWNER, THE AGELESS CENTER, ATLANTA: The Ageless Center. She got it in the back.

COHEN: We spent the day at the Ageless Center in Atlanta.

SOLOMON: And this is our schedule for the day - very busy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of these are taking what, three procedures and ...

COHEN: Where patients come in non-stop all day and into the night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we'll be going until what time now?

SOLOMON: We're going until about nine o'clock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine o'clock this evening? Oh, boy.

SOLOMON: Have a seat right here, honey.

COHEN: It's an anti-aging boutique, and they're springing up all over the country.

Customers come in for all sorts of treatments to look younger, including Botox and another kind of shot called fillers, that fill in the wrinkles. And microdermabrasion, which basically sands your skin.

And photo facials, which the Ageless Center claims tighten the skin.

SOLOMON: This is the room that we use for our fillers. We use it for Botox.

COHEN: It's anti-aging for the masses. Discount prices and quick, quick, quick.

SOLOMON: We can numb someone up for a filler and keep them in this room, and then the doctor will be doing a Botox. And he'll run back to this room, do the filler and we'll put another Botox in the seat waiting for him.

Seven fifty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We get them in and we get them out, and I think people really appreciate that. So everything's very fine tuned.

COHEN: In just an hour-and-a-half, 34-year-old Liz Carey (ph) had three procedures - a microdermabrasion, a photo facial ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And relax, ...

COHEN: ... and some Botox.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be 450 for today.

CAREY (ph): Thank you. Very good price.

COHEN: When Ilona Solomon started this business, everyone said she was crazy. But now, no one's laughing. Business has nearly tripled since they opened their doors three years ago.

SOLOMON: Correct. This is much better than collagen and you'll love it.

COHEN: Perhaps it's the almost religious fervor of the staff.

SOLOMON: I am definitely a Botox user. I have Botox here on the sides of my eyes. I have Botox here, along with filler. I have filler all around my lips.

I definitely am. We all are in the office - including the doctors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a Botox user. I'm (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frown again.

COHEN: And since Botox lasts only about three or four months, and the fillers about six, return business is practically guaranteed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you do it, you kind of love it. And you look forward to doing it again, because you know that your appearance is better.

COHEN: Even grandpa gets into the act. Eighty-three years and old and here he is, getting his Botox.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm getting the crow's feet. I'm getting the furrows, and then I'm getting my forehead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cool, huh?

COHEN: So, as these procedures become more affordable, more available and more efficient, more and more people will have to ask themselves the big question - do they work?

Many times people assume the government must have reviewed all these products and procedures and deemed that they really work. Sometimes that's true. The Food and Drug Administration really has approved Botox specifically for use against wrinkles.

The FDA has never said that photo facials or microdermabrasion helps skin look younger. In fact, the FDA doesn't even look at devices that claim to just change your appearance, only of those that actually diagnosed or treat a condition, devices that in legal parlance actually change the structure or function of your body.

And as for creams and lotions, well, again, the law is tricky. The fact is, you could put air in a bottle and say it fights the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and still be within the law.

So it really is a case of buyer beware. Here at the Ageless Center, they had plenty of buyers.

SOLOMON: So that's what's left. I guess we have to order more.

The end to a nice day. Everybody go home, because we're tired. There we go.

COHEN: When CNN PRESENTS continues, people who are so tired of their wrinkles, they'll go abroad to get a treatment that's not even approved here in the United States. Is it worth it?

Here are the before pictures. Stay with us and see how it turns out. Next on "The Fountain of Youth."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COHEN: How far would you go to find the fountain of youth? Would you leave the country? Would you try a drug that the U.S. government still considers experimental?

Ania Dorfman did.

Tell me about what you're about to do in Jamaica. ANIA DORFMAN, COSMECEUTICAL CLIENT: I'm going to have Botox and restoring on my lines, facial lines.

COHEN: Ania, I don't see any lines. Where are they?

DORFMAN: They are there. They are there. They are there. They are lines.

COHEN: Ania, a hair colorist, is 38.

DORFMAN: My clients, when they come, they always say, I don't understand. Yesterday I didn't have the roots, and this morning I woke up and they are there.

And one day it happened to me. I look in the mirror and I said, yesterday I don't have the lines. And now they are there.

COHEN: So, what do New Yorkers do when they wake up one morning and find lines? They head to the Big Apple's own fountain of youth, Park Avenue - home to countless plastic surgeons, including Dr. Paul Lorenc.

He recommended two temporary fixes. Botox, a muscle relaxer, and the latest wrinkle filler, Restylane. Some call it a facelift in a syringe.

But, there's a catch. Restylane is still under study in the United States and is not on the market, although it is pending before the Food and Drug Administration.

So he told Ania, if you want Restylane, you have to leave the United States. And the cost for both Restylane and Botox? About $2,000, travel expenses not included.

DR. PAUL LORENC, COSMETIC SURGEON: I have patients flying in on their private jets to be injected with Restylane in Jamaica from the States. They love it.

COHEN: And that's exactly what Ania did in her battle against aging. Why slow it down? It's natural. It's Mother Nature.

DORFMAN: But Mother Nature is not always perfect. And if you don't feel like you are ready for being older, why not help it?

COHEN: Are you scared? This Restylane is not FDA approved.

DORFMAN: No. I'm not scared.

COHEN: Before we show you how Ania did, we want to introduce you to someone else in search of youth - Ann Seaton, a client at Ania's salon on the Upper East Side.

Ann's 45, and she's headed to Jamaica for a facelift and eye surgery while on vacation. The price tag? About 15 grand plus travel costs.

ANN SEATON, COSMETIC SURGERY CLIENT: I really think I'll probably look like I'm maybe 30 - 35 or 37 - when this is done.

COHEN: She says the years, combined with an illness that left her face swollen, have not been kind.

SEATON: They're only thinking about these cheeks dropping, and I guess they're dropping more and more all the time. And it's definitely a little alarming, because you know it's just going downhill from here on in. And definitely it's a little scary.

LORENC: Nice to see you.

COHEN: Dropping cheeks. Things getting scary. Time for a visit to Dr. Lorenc.

LORENC: I'll be removing the fatty deposits underneath your eyes.

She will look refreshed. She will still be Annie. And she will still be a beautiful person that she was before the surgery, but a refreshed version of Annie.

COHEN: Will there be much swelling for the eyes?

LORENC: It is a surgical procedure, but it's a pretty straightforward procedure that's under very good control.

Next time I see you will be in, again, sunny Jamaica.

What I do - just hold your head just like that.

COHEN: Dr. Lorenc outlines the three parts of her surgery. First, he wants to get rid of the bags under her eyes, and the excess skin on the lids. Then he'll do liposuction on her neck and jowls.

Finally, going through incisions at the ear, he'll lift up her sagging cheeks.

LORENC: I think that's it. The next thing is I'll see you in the OR. OK?

SEATON: I know. This is it. Bye.

COHEN: 8:40 a.m. the surgery starts. Four hours later she's done. And since she was only put in the twilight state, not full anesthesia, Ann can walk back to her room.

LORENC: In about two weeks, she'll be to the point that she can go out to a restaurant with some makeup and she'll look fine.

You won't see the final result - patients really don't look good for about six weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I need you to sign here and I'll witness it.

COHEN: So while Ann rests, let's check in with Ania. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this just makes it a little numb.

COHEN: Ania's going to get Botox on her forehead and her crow's feet, and Restylane on the lines between her nose and lips.

LORENC: Why don't you lie down, please, and just scoot all the way to the top.

COHEN: So the Botox paralyzes the muscle.

LORENC: Correct.

COHEN: And then the Restylane fills in the actual wrinkle, the actual crevasse.

LORENC: Exactly. So it's a two-pronged attack on the wrinkles.

OK?

COHEN: Dr. Lorenc is part of the team studying Restylane in the United States. It's been used in other countries since 1996, and the company that makes it reports very few side effects.

Still, how do we know that it might have some bad side effect 10, 20, 30 years down the road?

LORENC: Well, nobody knows what 20 years down the line will be like. Frown please. That's it. That's it. That's it.

COHEN: And as for Botox, ...

LORENC: Just try to relax your face.

COHEN: Dr. Lorenc is concerned that some doctors who inject people with Botox have very little experience.

LORENC: I couldn't mess her up, but someone who is injecting in the wrong place could.

COHEN: A mess-up, though unusual, could mean a drooping eyelid, or a lopsided smile.

So you don't want to be the first person or the second person or the third person who the doctor's ever done it on. You want to be number ...

LORENC: That's true. You want to be number 100.

COHEN: How are you feeling, Ania?

DORFMAN: Feeling good.

COHEN: In about half an hour, Ania's done with her injections.

DORFMAN: Wow. Do you see that difference? It's amazing.

COHEN: What difference do you see?

DORFMAN: Oh. Look at these lines. They're almost gone. Nothing. There is nothing there. This one is gone.

COHEN: The injections won't take their full effect for about a week. So later on we'll show you Ania's final before-and-after shots.

How are you feeling?

As for Ann, we caught up with her 48 hours after her surgery.

SEATON: The worst part is behind me. Now all I have to do now is get rid of the swelling and the stitches and heal.

COHEN: Once she does heal, will Dr. Lorenc's predictions about her facelift come true?

LORENC: Patients want to know how much younger will I look? Typically, the standard answer is about 10 years.

COHEN: We'll catch up with Ann in about six weeks. And later in the show, we'll find out if she really does look a decade younger.

But up next, ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not diet equals starvation.

COHEN: Can you diet your way to a longer life?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COHEN: Joann Phisiello (ph) is searching for the fountain of youth, but not in the way you might think.

JOANN PHISIELLO (ph): Come on, where's your stick? You forgot the stick.

COHEN: No face-lifts or Botox for her. Looking good isn't what's important to Joann (ph) as she gets older. Feeling young, feeling strong is.

PHISIELLO (ph): I wanted to be a healthy productive senior. And when I turned 40 I looked around, and I realized I was not on that path.

COHEN: It hit her when she ran into an old friend from college.

PHISIELLO (ph): I saw her, and God bless her, she said you look horrible. You let yourself go.

COHEN: The last straw? She went on a hike and soon was out of breath and exhausted. When a much older woman passed right by her not tired at all.

PHISIELLO (ph): And we stopped and chatted, and I had to ask her, you know, how old are you? She was 70 years old. And I said I want to be that person. I want to be hiking out the trail when I'm 70 years old.

COHEN: That's when Joann turned to a diet inspired by these monkeys. The animals are part of an experiment. Eat less, much less, and...

DR. SUSAN ROBERTS, They don't just live longer, they are healthier, they've actually aged biologically slower their fir has gone grey less quickly, their hormones have stayed at their youthful profile, their immune function has stayed good.

COHEN: Joann (ph) is hoping for the same results. She's joined a national study, the calorie study to see if caloric reduction can slow down aging. The theory, with fewer calories, cells throughout the body appear to die more slowly, and repair themselves more easily.

Another theory, fat around the stomach can increase your chances of getting cancer and heart disease.

DR, THOMAS PEARLS (ph): People think that fat's some kind of an earth (ph) thing that just looks bad. But it's a very very active tissue that produces all kinds of bad things. So it's probably good to have as little of this visceral (ph) fat as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have my meat, a starchy thing, a vegetable, I'm set.

COHEN: So now Joann (ph) has cut her calories by a third.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So show me what's for breakfast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For breakfast I get a bagel, peaches, yogurt, butter, and (UNINTELLIBLE) fiber cereal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you had to cut off part of the bagel because it weighed more than 80 grams.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, so you're exact. And then for lunch you get?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You get a ham sandwich, in the sandwich is with ham and cheese, lettuce and tomato, and salad dressing, milk and two cookies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you made...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's all bran cookies, so those cookies are also high in fiber as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, and for dinner?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For dinner, Jasmine (ph) rice, sweet and sour chicken. Has pineapples, chicken, mushrooms in it with some seasoning, carrots, and pears (UNINTELLIBLE). These are premade, and we keep it frozen. COHEN: The menu changes daily. And for the first six months, every last morsel is weighed out to one tenth of a gram. Vacuum packed, and sent home. Now after nine months on the study, Joann gets to cook her own low calorie foods.

For the monkeys who went on a calorie-restricted diet, like the monkey on the right, the results were dramatic. Shiner fir, bones that age more slowly, puberty delayed by a year or more. Joann's (ph) lost quite a bit of weight on the diet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And obviously it's much less than what you used to eat, because you've lost 40 pounds in nine months.

PHISIELLO (ph): Absolutely, it's a lot less than I used to eat. This is not a diet where diet equals starvation. This is eating the right foods. And if you eat the right foods, you're not hungry.

COHEN: Joann (ph) will stay on this diet for a year, while researchers study how her body ages. It's still to early to know if the diet will make her live longer, or live better, but...

ROBERTS (ph): My guess is that it will do better (ph).

COHEN: And scientists are testing other anti-aging techniques on animals. Look at this worm. It's old and sluggish. This worm is old too, but it moves, eats, and procreates like a young worm, because researchers changed the ways it uses insulin.

DR. BARD GEESAMAN, ELIXIR PHARMACEUTICALS: What's exciting, it's not just that they're living longer, but they're living better. They're more resistant to disease; they're more resistant to the ravages of time. Once we have an understanding of those mechanisms, we're going to be able to develop drugs which will improve the way people age.

COHEN: What other secrets can science uncover to help us age well? When CNN PRESENTS continues, we'll meet this 101-year-old. She does aerobics. This 99-year-old, he outsmarts his younger opponents at gin rummy. This 94-year-old still drives everyday. Doctors are studying their genes, and their personalities to see what they can teach the rest of us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COHEN: What is her secret? Charlotte Chipman (ph) is 101 years old, and can out-aerobicize, out-socialize, out yogaize (ph) people many decades younger. She lifts weights better than of the people in her senior citizen's aerobics class, lives on her own without help, travels across the country for family events, and drove a car until age 98. Because of failing eyesight, she doesn't anymore. Now her 94-year-old niece drives her around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you coming with me? Sit down.

COHEN: So what does Mrs. Chipman (ph) know that the rest of us don't? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone's looking for the fountain of youth, and it's right here.

CHARLOTTE CHIPMAN (ph): That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sitting next to it.

CHIPMAN (ph): That's right.

COHEN: Scientists are learning that much of longevity is in the genes. Something I'm grateful for, since Charlotte Chipman (ph) is my great great aunt, and Sara Whintrauv (ph) is my grandmother. But we'll get to genetics later. Because people who study centenarians say it's a lot more than just genes. Dr. Thomas Pearls (ph) of Boston University runs the New England Centenarian study. He's looking for answers in the genes, and personality traits of people around a 100 years old. My aunt Charlotte is one of his study subjects.

He's found three tricks if you will, to living until a ripe old age. First, have other people to love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you give Gee Gee (ph) a hug and a kiss?

PEARLS (ph): You very rarely find a lonely centenarian.

CHIPMAN (ph): Is this a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah, a booth (ph), all you have to do is invite me. Sometimes I go even if I'm not invited.

PEARLS (ph): They have a very positive outlook on life. They're cup is always half-full, not half-empty. I so very rarely come across a curmudgeonly centenarian.

CHIPMAN (ph): I'm taking part in all these things because I don't like just sitting and doing nothing. It helps you to enjoy living. Otherwise, there is no -- I told my daughter I'm not interested in nursing homes. I want to be in my own home as long as I can. And I said if I can't do that, and I can't enjoy living, she should call Kevorkian (ph). She said he's in jail. I said well get him out, he won't mind.

COHEN: The second hint for living to 100 or close to it...

COHEN: You're 94 years old.

SARA WHINTRAUV (ph): Yes.

COHEN: You look wonderful.

WHINTRAUV (ph): I feel good.

COHEN: What's your secret?

WHINTRAUV (ph): My secret is resilience. I have -- I believe resilience is a wonderful quality. Resilience is being able to come back after great disappointments, and great hurts, and great blows, and truly truly be alive.

COHEN: Dr. Pearls (ph) has found that many centenarians have this ability.

PEARLS (ph): They tend not to dwell on things a lot. They were able to let go easily. And personality experts will tell you that translates into the ability to manage stress very well.

COHEN: Wooven Landau, another of Dr. Pearl's study subjects turns 100 next month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you had to think of one thing that explains how your father has lived such a long life, what do you think it would be?

WILLIAM LANDAU: I attribute it to my father's heart attack in 1963. And that heart attack changed his life.

COHEN: Changed his life, because it taught him to deal with stress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You told me that you learned something from your heart attack.

WOOVEN LANDAU: Yes. I resolved to avoid confrontation, and tension. And if I find myself in that position, I call for a pit stop, stall for a while, when I come back, it's quieted down.

COHEN: Everyday, Mr. Landau practices the third trick to living a long time. Work your brain. At age 99, he's the oldest practicing lawyer in Massachusetts, and possibly the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a new article in there you wanted me to read about the finances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many hours a day do you usually work?

LANDAU: Three or four.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And do you enjoy it?

LANDAU: I love it.

COHEN: He writes wills, and manages trust and estates with his son William, who still has to work at age 73.

WILLIAM LANDAU: I'm looking forward to the day that my father says OK, you can retire. We work side-by-side everyday, and he doesn't want to quit. How would it look if the kid quit, and the father's still working?

COHEN: When the older Mr. Landau isn't working, he exercises his brain by reading a lot, and... WILLIAM LANDAU: Above all he loves to play gin rummy. The reason he loves to plat gin rummy is because he plays it so well. And he even memorizes the cards that have been played, and then knows what the opposition has, and won't give them a gin.

LANDAU: I won that one.

PEARL (ph): As long as they stay cognitively intact, their virtually immortal. But when something happens to the brain, that's when the clock really starts ticking in my book.

COHEN: Many centenarians stay cognitively with it right to the end. Mr. Landau's mother for example made it to 100, and the day she dies, she read three newspapers. And that brings us to genetics. Longevity runs in Mr. Landau's family.

PEARL (ph): Seventy, 80 percent of getting to 100 might be genetic. And there are always going to be people who have a spectacular set of genes that -- they do everything equivalent to throwing atomic bomb at themselves like smoking a whole bunch, and not exercising, and being a bit fat and so on, and they still get to 100. Madam Karmaz (ph) is an interesting story. She is the oldest person ever that we know of, who lived to 122, who actually had a pretty significant history of smoking up through her early 100's.

COHEN: What exactly can good genes do for you? Probably a lot of things. One recent study in New York found centenarians are three times more likely than the rest of us to have a gene that makes for large cholesterol molecules. Bigger is better, because large molecules can't fit into arteries and clog them up the way small ones can.

And centenarians genes also seem to slow down the reproductive clock. Dr. Pearl's figured out that centenarian women are four times more likely to have a baby at age 40, or older. Aunt Charlotte had her daughter at age 41.

Pearl (ph): Having a child in your 40's is a marker that your reproductive system is aging very slowly, so the rest of you is as well. And that would vote well to go on to be 100.

COHEN: But what if you're not genetically blessed? How do you get to be 100? First of all, keep your weight down, and don't smoke to avoid the big pillars, heart attacks, and cancer. Secondly, take some advise from those who are living examples.

LANDAU: If a person's unhappy in what they're doing, that's going to eventually effect their health. I'm happy with what I'm doing.

CHIPMAN (ph): It helps you to enjoy living. Otherwise there's no purpose.

WHINTRAUV (ph): Two maturities (ph) living in peace with which you cannot change. COHEN: If these people have truly found the fountain of youth, then what do they think of America's craze to buy youth? We'll hear from them when we come back. Plus, you'll finally see if they really do look younger, and Onya's (ph) before and after shots, when CNN PRESENTS continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COHEN: So where is the Fountain of Youth? Can we find it is a syringe? Or the scalpel of a plastic surgeon? Or is it deep within us? The way we look at life? Or just our genes? The jury is still out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think there is a fountain of youth?

LANDAU: I doubt it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you found it.

LANDAU: They found me.

PEARL (ph): I don't think there is such a thing as a fountain of youth. But I think there could be a fountain of aging well.

COHEN: But aging well is not enough for some.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an essential C cleanser...

COHEN: Who don't want to age at all if they can help it? And who can resist the growing array of products to help fight Mother Nature? Like Meryl Streep (ph) in "Death Becomes Her".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drink that potion, and you'll never even grow one day older. Don't drink it, and continue to watch yourself rot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: In the end, Streep's (ph) character buys the potion. Will we all in time want to buy the potions that are supposed to make us look younger?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think there is such a thing as the Fountain of Youth?

CR. Z. PAUL LORENC, PLASTIC SURGEON: Well, we're getting closer and closer to the Fountain of Youth. I think we're close to it.

COHEN: Remember Onya (ph) and Ann (ph) who went to Jamaica in search of youth? We caught up with both of them about six weeks after their anti-aging procedures. Here's Onya (ph) before her Botox (ph) and Restylane shots, and here she is after.

ONYA DORFA (ph): This line disappeared. This is almost gone. And I just feel I look much better. Fresher, fresher.

COHEN: If Onya (ph) wants to keep this look up, she'll have to spend at the very least $3,000 a year visiting the doctor two to three times a year to get shots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She looks great, she looks a lot younger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She looks how many years younger?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say seven. I won't give it ten, but I would say seven.

COHEN: And here are Ann's results. On the left is Ann (ph) before her facelift. On the right, after more than $15,000 worth of work on her face and eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here's to you just looking gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

ANN (ph): It's just brought my confidence back, and my self- esteem back, and I just feel -- I feel much better about myself.

COHEN: You start to notice something when you talk to people who have joined the anti-aging trend. For them, it's not an act of vanity; it's all about self-esteem.

ANN HALSEY-SMITH, 53 YEAR OLD: It's not about vanity. It's absolutely not about vanity. It's about how I feel internally.

COHEN: Ann's friend, once she saw Ann's face-lift has decided to go to Jamaica herself for plastic surgery.

HALSEY-SMITH: You reach a certain point in your life, and decisions that you've made, experiences that you've had, and it's wanting to have the mind body, soul. The CINergy (ph).

LYNNE LUCIANO, SOCIAL HISTORIAN: It's almost not graceful to grow old without trying to fight it off. This is now interpreted as not caring about yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever think about getting plastic surgery, or getting any of those things to make yourself look younger?

CHIPMAN (ph): No, no I am what I am.

COHEN: When I asked my 94-year-old grandmother why she never did anything to her face, she told me this story.

WHINTRAUV (ph): When they brought the Queen of England a painting of herself, and they took out every stress line, she said this is a ridiculous picture. I have lived, and I have had plenty -- you -- I want to see my face. I don't want it prettied up just (ph) to look like my daughter. I want a picture of the Queen of England who's had enough things to worry about to have some wrinkles.

COHEN: And that's exactly how my grandmother feels about her own wrinkles.

WHINTRAUV: The show I have lived. They show I have tried.

LUCIANO: We used to actually value looking older and growing up, and looking mature. Girls used to want to be older, and maybe able to dress like their mothers, and wear all grown up clothing. Men used to want to grow up and be like their fathers. And now the fathers and mothers want to be more like their children. And nobody wants to grow up.

LUCIANNO: And what's going on in the northeast, and the Midwest?

COHEN: Throughout this hour, Lynne Lucianno has offered criticisms of a society obsessed with looking younger. But even this 59-year-old professor can't resist the temptation. Even she gets Botox (ph). Perhaps the sign that even when you know the race towards youth may be irrational, it's hard not to join it.

ARRON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: By the middle of this century, there are expected to be more people in the developed world above the age of 50, then below. And that would be a first. And we appear to be heading right toward it. So the question becomes, will future generations continue to worship youth, or will they, we, seek a healthy happy old age with a focus on aging well, instead of not aging at all.

That's it for this edition of CNN PRESENTS. I'm Aaron Brown. Thanks for joining us; we'll see you next week.

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