Welcome to the brave new world of the anti-aging industry. A business that used to revolve around powder and paint—subtle agents to enhance beauty and help one age gracefully—has been overrun by steroids, human growth hormone injections, plant-based “bio-identical” hormones, and never-ending web ads for red wine extract.
In Selling the Fountain of Youth, Arlene Weintraub, who spent more than ten years as a science reporter at BusinessWeek, takes us inside this world—from the internet marketers behind the rise of açai berries to the backrooms of local pharmacies, where made-to-order, non-regulated compounds are produced; from celebrity promoters like Suzanne Somers and Oprah to the self-medicating doctors who run chains of rejuvenation centers to tout their “miracle” cures. Weintraub brings readers inside the trade organizations, for-profit companies, and other players that have sought to legitimize anti-aging medicine—“medicine,” she argues, that’s based mostly on hope, leavened with stories and weak science.
Weintraub also reveals the remarkable economic and cultural impact of anti-aging medicine. The treatments, most of which have not been subjected to double-blind scientific studies, could, the author argues, actually reduce a patient’s overall health even as they drain their pocketbooks.
It’s not a pretty story, but Weintraub doesn’t flinch from revealing the high cost of staying young. Before you decide to pop your ﬁrst pill or take your first shot, read this book and learn the true costs of the quest for eternal youth.
“There is no scientific evidence suggesting that compounded ‘bioidentical’ estrogen products are safer or more effective than conventional prescription estrogen products. And yet every day I see patients who have been misled by anti-aging, menopause ‘experts’ into believing that the compounded hormones they have purchased are safer, and work better than those I prescribe. That so many of my patients have been misinformed by greedy entrepreneurs who take advantage of women who desperately want to feel better is, at the least, disturbing. Any woman who places her trust one of these an anti-aging ‘experts’ needs to read Arlene Weintraub’s Selling the Fountain of Youth to understand that there is no scientific basis for their assurances or recommendations.” —Lauren Streicher, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
“A remarkable piece of investigative reporting on the questionable origins and corrupt inner workings of the anti-aging industry. Revelations about shoddy ‘science,’ money-hungry entrepreneurs, dubious academic credentials, and actors masquerading as medical experts will shock insiders and unsuspecting readers alike. Copies of this book should be given to all States Attorneys General, and millions of baby boomers should read it as a warning and a wake-up call. Selling the Fountain of Youth may very well prove the beginning of the end of an industry that promises more than it can deliver.” —S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago
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