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The SkepDoc

Anti-Aging Claims: The Fountain of Youth Is Still Only a Legend

THE SPANISH EXPLORER PONCE DE LEóN wasn’t really looking for the Fountain of Youth when he trekked through Florida. That’s only a legend that wasn’t attached to his name until after his death. The idea of anti-aging remedies dates back to at least 3500 BCE, and the hope is alive and well today. Who wouldn’t like to turn back the clock and regain their lost youth? Who wouldn’t want to ward off death?

Longevity clinics have proliferated in recent years. They offer everything from “age optimization services” to “aesthetic facial rejuvenation,” from “youth maintenance” to “hormone optimization,” from supplements to stem cells. The claims they make are not grounded in science; they are misleading and sometimes even illegal. Jerry Mixon, M.D., of the Longevity Medical Clinic in Washington State, was disciplined for improperly diagnosing and treating four patients for growth hormone deficiency after advertising “comprehensive hormone supplementation as an anti-aging remedy.”1 Many diverse treatments are being promoted as “anti-aging” remedies. What does the scientific evidence say about them?

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DECEPTION IN CANCER TREATMENT SPECIAL ISSUE: The Cancer-care Industry’s Marketing is Among the Most Deceptive on the Consumer Landscape. SPECIAL SECTION: Classic Skepticism: The Amityville Hoax at 40; Alien Sulls: Do the Mysterious Rhodope Skull and Adygea Skulls Belong to Aliens?; The Real Meaning Behind the Nazca Geoglyphs; Clown Panics: Sightings of Mysterious Clowns Rattle Nerves ARTICLES: The Case for a Galactic Defense System; Is “Spirituality” so Broadly Defined that Testing for it is Meaningless?; Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?; Luck and Regression to the Mean: One of the Most Fundamental Sources of Error in Human Judgment; Political Obfuscation: Thinking Critically about Public Discourse. COLUMNS: The SkepDoc: Anti-Aging Claims: The Fountain of Youth is Still Only a Legend, by Harriet Hall, M.D.; The Gadfly: Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better? by Carol Tavris REVIEWS: “Three books about the Salem Witch Trials and their legacy: The Witches: Salem, by Stacy Schiff; In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, by Mary Beth Norton; America Bewitched: America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem, by Owen Davies JUNIOR SKEPTIC: Mammoth Mysteries! Part Two, by Daniel Loxton
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