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Selling the Fountain of Youth Continues to Grab Attention

14 May

Just a quick update on Selling the Fountain of Youth: On April 18, I was featured for a full hour on “Wriggling in the Middle,” a show on News-Talk WHBC radion in Canton, Ohio. The conversation spanned a range of anti-aging  topics, from supplements like resveratrol to hormone replacement therapy for menopause.

In June, I will tape an interview with “Growing Bolder,” a radio show that airs on WMFE, 90.7fm, Central Florida’s NPR station. (Air date to be announced.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been pleased to see a growing recognition of anti-aging scams. As NPR recently reported, the Federal Trade Commission has asked the federal courts to halt the advertising by 10 companies that are using fake news sites to sell the supplement acai, which is derived from a Brazilian berry that supporters say can halt aging and promote weight loss. In its complaint, the FTC points out that many of the so-called news sites purporting to run objective stories about acai are fictional, as are the reporters those sites feature.

Hopefully we can all continue to bring these false advertising efforts to light so fewer consumers will be fooled by anti-aging claims!

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Times of London Features Selling the Fountain of Youth

16 Dec

In a December 16 story, The Times of London is featuring my book as a way to spotlight what they call “elixirs of youth: the top five myths.” The online version of the Times is a subscription-only site, so I will list the myths here:

1. Human Growth Hormone: “…its benefits have not been proved, and there have been no long-term studies of its side-effects in healthy users.”

2. Acai berry: “This is the best example of an anti-aging elixir gone completely out out control.”

3. Resveratrol: “…doses in the animal studies were far higher than people could tolerate–the equivalent of drinking 750 to 1,500 bottles of red wine.”

4. Antioxidants: “…the jury is out over whether this is any benefit from applying them to the skin….”

5. Alpha hydroxy acids: “Don’t expect over-the-counter products to make any difference.”

Interestingly, the hook for this story is a study out this week on lenalidomide from the Universith of California at San Francisco. A scientist there discovered that taking small amounts of this pill, which is related to thalidomide, boosts immunity. The Times calls this “an elixir of youth.” The UCSF scientists don’t go quite so far. More to come on this topic….

For those with a subscription, here’s a link to the Times of London story on Selling the Fountain of Youth.

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Huffington Post: FTC Does Little to Curb Anti-Aging Scams

06 Oct


Way back in January 2009, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning to consumers to beware of online offers for free trials of acai berry–one of the many products sold on the Web that purports to promote weight loss and halt aging. Turns out many of the so-called free trials weren’t free at all–they actually hooked unsuspecting shoppers into expensive monthly shipments of acai juice or supplements. Since then, many consumer protection organizations have issued similar warnings. And last year, Oprah Winfrey and her on-air doctor Mehmet Oz sued 50 Internet retailers for improperly using their names and likenesses to advertise acai and other supplements.

But as I learned recently, these offers are still rampant on the Internet. Read more at HuffPo.

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Posted in Resveratrol


Free Trials of Anti-Aging Products: Buyer Beware

02 Oct


In Selling the Fountain of Youth, I write about the plethora of Internet offers for “free trials” of supplements that purportedly extend life, such as acai berry and resveratrol. Earlier this year, the Web was over-run with ads featuring Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz, as if to imply these celebrities had actually endorsed specific acai and resveratrol products for anti-aging (they hadn’t). Winfrey and Oz sued 50 Internet supplement sellers, and most of those ads came off the Web.

However, as I discovered recently while reporting a story for the US News & World Report retirement issue, many seniors are still falling for free-trial offers that aren’t exactly free. The problem is so pervasive that the Federal Trade Commission is now getting involved. Read more here.

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