January 2011 - Selling the Fountain of Youth Selling the Fountain of Youth

Archive for January, 2011

New on Huffington Post: “Conductorcise” Encourages Exercise Through Music

18 Jan

Everyone knows that exercise is good for their health and longevity, but so few of us are willing to get off our butts and actually do it. According to a 2009 Roper poll, only one in four Americans can manage to squeeze in a half-hour of exercise five times a week. This despite the mountain of data proving that exercise extends lives. A study by the Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, for example, found that men who became fit decreased their risk of dying of any disease by a remarkable 44 percent.

On Jan. 13, I met David Dworkin, a Julliard-trained musician who has invented a wonderfully innovative solution to exercise phobia. Read more here.

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Posted in Lifestyle


Penn Gazette: Habitat for (Aging) Humanity

17 Jan

The January/February issue of the University of Pennsylvania’s alumni magazine, the Gazette, features an October conference that was held at the college in October. The event, called “New Aging: International Conference on Aging and Architecture,” brought together a range of experts in the field of aging. I was invited there to talk about Selling the Fountain of Youth, and I was quoted in the Gazette story as someone who rejects the idea that getting old is a disease.

As the story points out, what made this conference different was that it wasn’t just about architecture. Rather it was meant to get people thinking about aging in all its dimensions. Among the other speakers: Sylvana Joseph, who co-authored a humor book about sex and aging, and Aubrey de Grey, a world-renowned scientist who believes science should bring an end to aging.

Read more here.

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Posted in Science of Aging


AARP: The Dangers of Trying to Live Forever

13 Jan

AARP Bulletin featured Selling the Fountain of Youth in its regular series “The Author Speaks.” Here’s an excerpt:

Q. What started the modern antiaging movement?

A. In 1990, scientist Daniel Rudman published a sensational study. He gave human growth hormone (HGH) to about a dozen healthy men over 60. They significantly increased their lean body mass, including muscle, and they lost about 14 percent of their fat.

Q. How did we get from a single splashy study to an entirely new industry?

A. A small group of doctors latched on to the idea that if you replace your hormone levels to where they were in your 30s, you’ll feel as great as you did back then. Rudman’s study inspired the formation of the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine and has been cited on the Web something like 50,000 times.

Q. What are the cornerstones of the antiaging industry?

A. It started with HGH and expanded into alternative estrogen and progesterone products for menopause, as well as testosterone, which has recently become quite a sensation in this industry. It’s being prescribed not just to men, but also to help improve women’s libido.

Q. What are proponents claiming about these products?

A. They say if you replace those hormones, you can prevent osteoporosis, shield yourself from Alzheimer’s, improve your sleep, lose weight, gain muscle mass and boost your sex drive.

Q. Does any good science support those claims?

A. Antiaging doctors often say HGH is one of the most studied hormones. Well, that’s true, but many of those studies were in children with growth hormone deficiencies, and you can’t extrapolate from those children to healthy adults. The original Rudman study of HGH in adults was very small, and some scientists have been disturbed by the popularity of it. Some antiaging doctors twist the research to fit their viewpoints.

Read more here.

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Posted in Selling the Fountain of Youth


Is Anti-Aging Medicine the New Ageism?

11 Jan

I wrote an Op-Ed for the latest edition of Aging Today, the newspaper of the American Society on Aging. Here is an excerpt:

Hormones are the cornerstone of the anti-aging credo, which one doctor described to me as rectangularization (mortality compression). The idea, he said, is that patients should not have to age like their parents did, suffering a gradual increase in frailty and a slow decline towards the nursing home–triangularization, if you will. Instead they can use hormones to stay strong and healthy throughout their lives and then “fall off a cliff fast,” he said.

I find that sad. The fact is, there are no long-term, placebo-controlled studies proving that hormones extend life and that they’re safe for healthy people to take long term.

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Posted in Selling the Fountain of Youth